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It wasn't supposed to be like this – Lord Empey

  • Stormont would not pass the “smell test”
  • Executive shown to be incompetent

Lord Empey said:

“I have always been a pro-devolutionist, believing that a locally controlled and accountable Stormont would deliver locally tailored policies aimed specifically at raising the living standards of the Northern Ireland community and create opportunities for those who need them most.

“How sad it is, therefore, to see the institution many had pinned their hopes on for good government, locally led, to see the debacle unfolding at Stormont. This was not how it was meant to be.

“When DETI Minister, Mrs Foster decided to implement a specific Northern Ireland model of the RHI scheme, differing from that in existence in Great Britain. This is the departure point for her Ministerial responsibility for the scheme and for its failures down the line.

“The consequence has been a financial disaster as all can see, and while a cobbled together attempt will be made to reduce the losses, substantial losses will be incurred.

“Furthermore, the gaping wound in the side of the governing party exposed by the extraordinary and venomous dispute between Mrs Foster and her erstwhile supporter Jonathan Bell, has given us a rare glimpse into the internal workings of the DUP at Stormont, and it’s not a pretty sight.

“The revelations about the role of highly paid SPADs has led to great public anger. I believe the DUP in general and Mrs Foster in particular are misreading this situation.

“With many pensioners at this time of year having to choose between heating their homes or eating properly, the idea that millions of pounds that could be going to help them is literally going up in smoke, will be hard to take for many.

“Like many others, I look forward to better days for the devolved Assembly - where hard working MLAs can deliver a better quality of life for their constituents. Those days are being put off by rampant cronyism and the intoxication of some with the sole aim of acquiring power and influence at any cost.

“Today Stormont would not pass the 'smell test' for good, efficient and honest government. There have been too many matters that are less than open and honest. People want to get to the truth of what has happened - this should be possible in a short time if there is to be any restoration of trust in the institutions.

“The current and previous Executive and some of their leading Ministers have been shown to be incompetent. This is totally unacceptable. Those Ministers must be held to account, and as there is not a sign of any of them standing up and taking responsibility for their behaviour, the fall, when it comes, will be all the greater.”

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Ulster Unionists