Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, failed to make a decision on whether his party would support an SDLP vote of ‘No Confidence’ in First Minister, Arlene Foster, at the Assembly on Monday.
Commenting on the highly controversial Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme at a meeting of Sinn Fein’s leadership in Londonderry this afternoon, Mr. Adams said that the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, had urged Mrs. Foster to “stand aside from her role as First Minister while an investigation is underway or, at least, until an initial assessment had been concluded into the veracity of all the allegations.”
The Sinn Fein President said Martin McGuinness had outlined to Mrs. Foster his serious concern that the credibility of the political institutions were being “significantly undermined by the serious and ongoing allegations surrounding the design, operation, abuse and ending of the Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme.”
Reflecting back to those discussions on Friday, he said: “Martin told her that in order to establish the truth and to rebuild the reputation of the institutions, there was a need to put in place a fully independent, transparent investigation into this matter.
“This was, he told her, what he would do if he was in this situation. Not surprisingly Arlene Foster said no. Martin urged her to go off and reflect on her position and to come back in the New Year.”
Mr. Adams insisted that the facts of the scheme had to be established and Sinn Fein demanded that the processes be put in place to get to the truth of the matter.
“There can be no compromise on this. Sinn Féin’s primary objective must be to defend the integrity of the political institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement.
“We do this in line with our strategic objectives as Irish republicans. So we have to deal with this crisis and we have to constantly look to how we advance our strategic objectives. I am confident that we can do both,” he concluded.