Sinn Fein are embarked on a campaign to weaponise poverty for their own political ends in much the same way as they weaponised the Irish language.
Their ongoing mantra that the DUP is preventing the Northern Ireland departments from allocating funds to alleviate the cost of living crisis is a key part of that campaign, and like most Sinn Fein dogma it is a lie.
I was heavily involved in the first few years of devolution working as a senior advisor to the First Minister David Trimble.
I understand as well as anyone how Stormont works, and how policies are implemented by ministers and departments.
What I cannot understand however are the claims that the DUP policy of not withholding consent for an executive is preventing the distribution of cash help to the needy.
The Finance Minister, Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy, is in receipt of some £300m of unallocated funding that could help with cost of living increases.
His department is also responsible for issuing rate bills to every household and business in Northern Ireland.
Why then is he not allocating these funds as direct rebates to householders?
There is no cross-cutting issue at stake, and even if there were, he could write to each party leader seeking their assent to his action. Who in the current climate is going to object or judicially review such an action that would assist every family in need at this time?
By comparison, the DUP DEARA Minister Edwin Poots has, I believe, directed that Farm Support payments are to be paid early this year to assist farm cash flows in the face of spiralling costs.
Why is he able to take direct action yet Conor Murphy does not?
The real reason of course is that Sinn Fein, aided and abetted unfortunately by the SDLP and Alliance parties, are wanting to promote a narrative that condemns the DUP for preventing assistance reaching the needy yet as can be seen, the only party actually offering help is the DUP!
This cynical weaponising of poverty by Sinn Fein is disgusting and must stop now.
Sinn Fein is preventing help reaching every household at this difficult time and they alone are in control of the department that can release that help.
David Campbell, Ex special advisor to the first minster David Trimble