- Christmas week of further revelations
- Mrs Foster across the 'jots and tittles'
- Time for First Minister to do the honourable thing
Ulster Unionist Leader, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has renewed his call for First Minister, Arlene Foster MLA, to resign in order to start the process of restoring public confidence in the integrity of the devolved institutions.
This follows a disastrous Christmas week, which has seen no let-up in revelations of the incompetence, ineptitude and haplessness of her leadership.
“As every day passes, further information emerges regarding Mrs Foster’s central role in what she herself told the Northern Ireland Assembly was the ‘debacle’ of the Renewable Heat Incentive she introduced during her time in the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment.
“It is now clear she was warned in advance that there was a danger of ‘over incentivising’ the scheme, the very error she endorsed as Energy Minister.
“We were aware that despite her defence that she could not be across ‘every jot and tittle’ of her Department’s business, she had written to the local banks encouraging them to look favourably on loan applications for renewable heat boilers. We requested that letter under Freedom of Information. It now appears to have been leaked by the DUP.
“Aside from the important question of the propriety of the DUP releasing government papers, the letter makes clear that Mrs Foster was across every important detail, or ‘jot and tittle’ of RHI, and wrote to the banks to inform them that in terms of the 20 years of the RHI subsidy, the only way was up, in that the levels were guaranteed to be adjusted only to account for inflation.
“Mrs Foster has not only failed to do the honourable thing, by accepting the consequences of Ministerial Responsibility and resigning, she has spun a web in which she now finds herself trapped, ensuring a legacy of debt to be paid by children yet to be born, and leaving her reputation as a competent minister in tatters.
“Once again, with no pleasure, I ask Mrs Foster to prioritise the future of the Stormont institutions over her role within them and resign. She knows it is the right thing to do for Northern Ireland.”