We need wholesale review of how our government works

Northern Ireland is facing two crises.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 20th April 2018, 8:00 am
Letters to Editor
Letters to Editor

One is a political crisis and the other is a crisis in governance.

The Secretary of State and the UK Government in Westminster should be under no illusion that not only do we need to solve the political crisis, but there needs to be a root-and-branch review of how government is conducted should the devolved institutions return.

That may require the Cabinet Office becoming more directly involved and if need be, the introduction of special measures.

Devolution has been left to wither on the vine, and the crisis in governance has been exposed during the course of the RHI inquiry due to the forensic way in which it has been conducted by Sir Patrick Coghlin and his team.

They have shone a light into the darkest recesses of the former Sinn Fein/DUP regime and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

All this happening while people are languishing on hospital waiting lists and schools are facing financial crisis. It is simply staggering.

These revelations also beg the question as to how business was being conducted in other departments.

Given what has been stated so far, it is hard to believe that this was only happening in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Millions of pounds of taxpayers money was at stake and the minister didn’t even read her own legislation.

The DUP and Sinn Fein may have been capable of political deals in the past but not good government.

This was not what devolution was meant to be about.

The public will not have confidence in any restored institutions unless they see fundamental reform to what was a governmental shambles. There needs to be a change in culture and attitude where all ministers, the Assembly and its committees are given their proper place to scrutinise governmental decisions instead of the political carve up between the DUP and Sinn Fein which has led us to this ruinous situation.

Robin Swann MLA, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party