Sugden urged: Call public inquiry before 5pm

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt

Sinn Féin have let the DUP ‘off the hook’ with deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness’ resignation and should have forced a public inquiry instead, UUP leader Mike Nesbitt has said.

Mr Nesbitt, reacting to news of Mr McGuinness’ resignation, said: “This is not the way to resolve the RHI scandal. Sinn Féin should have stayed, to hold the First Minister to account, to force a public inquiry and to vote on the much-needed cost controls on the scheme.

“Instead, they have prioritised self-interest, as always. This is Sinn Fein letting the DUP off the hook. The public mood clearly indicates they want the facts of the RHI debacle exposed.

“To move straight to an election without this taking place is farcical. They had a choice between the integrity of the institutions and electoral advantage and they appear to have chosen the latter.

“This is simply further proof of the DUP and Sinn Fein’s inability to govern. This scandal prone Executive has had ten years to get it right, that’s longer than most get in a mature democracy. They promised a Fresh Start, but delivered a Fresh Crisis of momentous scale.

“There is a moral duty on Claire Sugden to trigger a public inquiry into the Renewable Heat Incentive before 5pm tonight. The public must know where the blame lies for the waste of over £400m of their money.

“If we are going to have an election, it will only have meaning if sufficient numbers turn out to vote for change. A decade of disappointments, debacles and scandals should be enough for anyone. This should be a referendum on ten years of DUP and Sinn Fein rule.”