Openness and accountability are not things for political trade, says Long

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said both the DUP and Sinn Fein need to “get off their high horses” and respect the institutions by not creating a deal that compromises openness and accountability.

She was speaking in response to comments made by both parties at the weekend, with the DUP saying Sinn Fein proposals for an investigation into the RHI scandal provide the basis for a way forward, and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams warning his party “would act” if First Minister Arlene Foster doesn’t step aside.

“There are strong words in Mr Adams’ speech but ambiguities remain as to Sinn Fein’s real intentions and their wider approach to Government in Northern Ireland. Alliance can recognise the description of an intransigent DUP, but Sinn Fein must also acknowledge their role in Executive dysfunctionality, evident through their approach to welfare reform and other financial issues.

“People won’t accept a deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein over this scandal. Openness and accountability are not something up for trading. We need to see a proper public inquiry – anything short will leave lingering suspicions. Public confidence requires those against whom there are major allegations to at least temporarily step aside. Gerry Adams should have been much more unambiguous in saying this.

“It is clear the Executive does need yet another fresh start. But what we don’t need is a situation in which it continues to be a two-party carve-up, and all we get is a better balanced division of the spoils of office between the DUP and Sinn Fein. Rather Northern Ireland deserves a coherent, cohesive and collective government that adopts a strategic approach to key issues.”

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