Alliance Party Deputy Leader, Stephen Farry, has responded to the latest allegations around political interference in the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme by stressing that if the DUP Leader and First Minister, Arlene Foster, cannot ensure immediate full disclosure of the full situation around this scandal, she risks further undermining political confidence in the devolved institutions.
Stephen Farry said: “The most recent allegations of political interference in the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme are the now the most troubling aspect of this ever growing scandal. If substantiated, these would take this scandal beyond a matter of competence and credibility of Ministers and to an extent the civil service.
“There are massive issues for Arlene Foster to explain not just as a former Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, but as the current First Minister and leader of the DUP.
“To date, responses and explanations have been utterly inadequate and have been increasingly unpicked by subsequent revelations and accusations.
“This is no longer a matter of just her own personal reputation as First Minster, but the credibility of the devolved institutions is at stake.
“Devolution was supposed to deliver enhanced accountability and better performance in decision-making and policy implementation that reflects local economic and social circumstances. However, despite some evidence of good initiatives and delivery by individual Ministers, the dominant narrative has been that of bickering, crisis politics, inefficiency, and missed opportunities.
“Arlene Foster now needs to stop disassembling around this scandal in her very few media appearances. She needs to immediately ensure publication of all the policy submissions to Ministers and associated communications, all communications in relation to allegations from whistle-blowers, all communications between DETI and other Departments or associated stakeholders, and the full beneficiaries of the RHI scheme.
“Issues of public confidence do not just relate to how she performed as a Minister, but also how she as First Minister and DUP Leader is not to date providing full and transparent answers and explanations to what seems set to be one of the biggest financial scandals in modern UK history.”