Alliance Leader, Naomi Long, has accused the DUP and Sinn Fein of reckless disregard for public concern and confidence in the wake of both Economy Minister Simon Hamilton and Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir attempting to initiate separate public inquiries into the RHI scandal.
Naomi Long said: “There has been a clear need for a Public Inquiry, under the 2005 Inquiries Act since early December, when I first called for it, and yet both parties refused to initiate an inquiry at that time or since. Instead, we have had a drip feed of information into the public domain, which has been utterly corrosive to public confidence in the institutions and in politics in general.
“Now, having presided over collapse of the Executive and Assembly, they are racing each other to get a public inquiry initiated. As recently as 19th December the DUP said there would be no public inquiry. Even this morning Sinn Fein’s Declan Kearney was arguing the case against an inquiry under the 2005 Act, and yet by tonight both parties have started a process to set up an inquiry.
“It seems clear that they are less concerned with getting to the truth of the RHI scandal and more concerned about claiming credit for setting up the inquiry ahead of the election. This is not motivated by public interest but party political interest. I have therefore put in writing to both Ministers not only that view, but also the terms which Alliance believes must be the basis for any inquiry to have public confidence. The public demand for the truth must take precedence over party politicking on this issue.”