Steve Aiken OBE, the Ulster Unionist economy spokesperson, and a candidate in South Antrim has said that the ‘alternative facts’ presented in a DUP election leaflet should be treated with the utmost scepticism.
Mr Aiken said:
“The DUP are the original masters of alternative facts. They’ve had decades of practice at twisting and contorting for political gain. However, their latest effort in publishing what they claim are the facts about RHI shows the level of brass neck we are dealing with.
“I’m sure it’s just an oversight that they have failed to mention the £85,000 still going up in smoke every day. The reality is that only the Public Inquiry can vindicate anyone, but we can already assert that only the DUP and Sinn Fein were in possession of the full facts on the problems with the RHI when the vote to suspend the scheme took place in the Assembly last February.
“There isn’t a mirror in the country big enough to deflect from the fact that the biggest financial scandal in Northern Ireland’s history took place on the DUP’s watch. I think that their desperate attempts to create their own version of events demonstrates how exposed they are.
“Anyone receiving this post truth ‘factsheet’ from the DUP should treat it with the utmost scepticism. It just reinforces the strong perception that the last minute regulation introduced by Minister Hamilton was mostly for the optics- for the DUP to try to claim that it was getting to grips with the vast overspend. The fact is that no business case for the time-bound one-year statutory rule has been approved. We should also be very concerned that the preference from the top civil servant in the Department, Dr McCormick, for complete closure of the scheme was effectively trumped by a last minute proposal from an unnamed special adviser.
“It is such a pity that it took so long for the Executive parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein to agree to the establishment of the Public Inquiry. It is a disgrace that the full facts will not come out this side of an Assembly election. However, in the absence of an Inquiry Report, no one should believe the alternative so called facts produced by the DUP.”