Foster inquiry call too little, too late, says Long

Naomi Long MLA has said Arlene Foster’s call for an inquiry into the RHI scandal is “too little, too late” by the former First Minister.

The Alliance Leader said Mrs Foster had the opportunity to initiate an independent inquiry under the Inquiries Act and step aside in December, but her failure to do so had directly led to the current Stormont crisis.

“This is now a matter of the former First Minister attempting to cover her embarrassment ahead of a potential election,” said Mrs Long.

“However, I believe it won’t wash with the public, who will see it for what it is. It is questionable whether Arlene Foster even has the power to initiate such an inquiry now. She is no longer a Minister and even if she was, it is now a cross-Departmental matter and would require Executive agreement to instigate it. The only person able to do so at this point is the Secretary of State and he continues to refuse.

“There is serious work needs to be done to save these institutions and there is less than a week in which to do that. Nothing in this current crisis is insurmountable if we have mature, responsible parties willing to put aside political posturing and get on with the business of running Northern Ireland.

“The DUP and Sinn Fein want to be elected and have power but they also need to realise with that power comes accountability and responsibility. So far we have seen two parties who are just not willing to accept that, and as a result we all suffer.”

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