THE NI PUBLIC DEMAND ANSWERS – UKIP IS CALLING FOR AN INDEPENDENT JUDGE LED PUBLIC INQUIRY. TO GET THERE, ARLENE FOSTER NEEDS TO STEP DOWN
Commenting on the RHI Scandal and the events that have unfolded over the course of the last days and weeks, the Leader of UKIP, Paul Nuttall MEP said:
“The people of Northern Ireland demand answers. The spectacle that they witnessed yesterday at Stormont and in the media over the last week is shameful. One half of a Joint First Minister’s office delivering a statement that their partner in Government didn’t sign off on. A defiant and angry First Minister and her party then apportioning blame on everyone but themselves. We also witnessed opposition parties more interested in the politics of stuntery than asking the relevant questions.
In May, Arlene Foster and her party, the DUP claimed that they were the party that could offer strong leadership for Northern Ireland. Given this latest saga, It would appear that instead of implementing a plan for a strong Northern Ireland, her party of Government has been found asleep at the wheel. Yesterday, we witnessed a pantomime play out on the benches at Stormont. A defiant, shouty digging in of the heels on one side of the chamber, and on the other side, toothless opposition. These MLAs would do well to remember that they are there to represent the people (and not themselves or their political parties) first.”
“There are serious questions that need to be answered urgently. Namely: Why in 2012 did the then Enterprise Minister, Mrs. Foster not replicate the scheme as it is in Great Britain which included safeguards? When was the earliest date that Executive Minister(s) (including the current First Minister) knew about the failings, shortcomings and projected overspend in the scheme? Specifically when and why did the UK Treasury refuse to fund the scheme? Did the First Minister (as has been claimed) receive correspondence from officials in 2013 warning her of the potential failings of the scheme? Who were the individuals that benefited when the scheme was extended and there was suddenly a late flurry of new applicants? Amongst the list of those that benefited, are there donors to one of the Executive Parties? Were unelected Special Advisors and officials unduly influencing, lobbying or making decisions over the head of Government Minister’s?
These are some of the very serious questions that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. This saga could ultimately end up costing the Northern Ireland taxpayer up to £400 Million. This shameful and monumental failure by the Northern Ireland Executive needs to be fully investigated. It cannot be fully, fairly and impartially addressed if the current First Minister remains in place as she would ultimately be involved in initiating the groundwork for any investigation.”
Commenting further, Mr. Nuttall added:
“UKIP is calling for a full, transparent, independent, judge-led public Inquiry into the entirety of the Heat Incentive Scheme. In order to allow any Inquiry to be given a chance of getting to the full truth, Arlene Foster should stand down as the First Minister of Northern Ireland as a matter or urgency. There are simply too many questions that currently remain unanswered.
“Northern Ireland deserves much better than the shambles that we have witnessed in recent days, weeks and months. The public is losing faith in the politicians at Stormont and understandably trust in their ability to govern in the interests of the people is dwindling daily. As the only national political party with active elected representatives in the four corners of the United Kingdom, UKIP will be holding local and national political parties and the Government’s feet to the fire to ensure that the public get the answers they deserve.”