Foster’s approach and tone show lack of leadership

First minister Arlene Foster

First minister Arlene Foster

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An open letter to the first minister, Arlene Foster:

My name is Peter Graham.

I am a 71-year-old father and grandfather who has lived all his life in Northern Ireland.

I am not a member of the political party, nor have I ever been a member of a political party. I am sure you have listened carefully to the advice from your family, friends and colleagues with regard to the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme. Your public utterances on that subject matter would indicate that you have had nothing but wholehearted support from those around you.

I myself, however, see your actions in a different light. I have watched you on television, listened carefully to what you have said on the radio and read what you have written in local newspapers.

Consequently I have concluded that your approach, your tone and the skills you have displayed indicate a surprising lack of leadership in your role as first minister.

The image that you project to me is one of bluster, belligerence, lack of humility and a complete misunderstanding of the self-inflicted damage you are doing to the body politic in Northern Ireland.

You have demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness that the financial cost of the RHI will make to our public finances. It defies credibility that as minister in charge of the department when the RHI scheme was set up and now as first minister of NI that the faults in the scheme are due to everyone else but you.

With so many of our citizens, especially in the younger age groups, switched off by the actions or inactions of our local politicians,

I would contend that the patronising approach to the RHI scandal you have adopted will do nothing but further damage democracy and the institution of government in Northern Ireland.

Finally, to describe your opponents as being motivated by misogyny rings hollow.

You produce no shred of creditable evidence to substantiate your claim and I regard that as a distraction which will further undermine your claim to be a successful first minister.

Peter Graham JP, Newtownabbey