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Unionists horrified by actions of the DUP as revealed at the RHI Inquiry at Stormont - Swann

Ulster Unionist Party leader, Robin Swann MLA, said:

“The ongoing revelations about how Stormont was run by the DUP have left unionists horrified that things were being done in their name which were neither good government nor guided by any semblance of a moral compass.

“It is clear that there was a disregard for British Taxpayers’ money, a sentiment unworthy of any unionist. The DUP wrongly believed that the Treasury would pay for RHI in full and without reservation, and had no regard to the potential costs of RHI as result. The DUP have claimed in the past that they worked in the best interests of all the people of the UK. It is very hard to square that circle when you examine their behaviour around the RHI debacle and their attitude to public money.

“Even DUP voters will have been shocked and disappointed at what they have learned about the innermost workings of their party. For the DUP to create a situation where Sinn Fein are calling for 'integrity in Government' referring to the actions of DUP Ministers and SPADs is appalling in itself, but to put unionism in such a situation is unforgivable given what Sinn Fein has sought to justify over the years.

“It is now clear that successive DUP First Ministers presided over a government where a culture of self-preservation at all costs, and self service, were dominant and which has now been laid bare at the RHI Inquiry at Stormont.

“And all this is currently taking place against the background of huge political issues facing the United Kingdom and unionism in general.

“The RHI Inquiry has revealed the inner most workings of the DUP/Sinn Fein regime in Stormont Castle and it isn`t pretty. However, what it has also done is confirm that we were right not to go back into the last Executive. Sinn Fein and the DUP were keeping papers off the Executive table, ministerial decision making was delegated to SPADs and there was a complete lack of openness and transparency - indeed following some of today’s revelations and emails, I believe Sinn Fein should now be brought before the inquiry to explain their role.

“I note that Arlene Foster now acknowledges that some of the reforms put forward by the Ulster Unionist Party which were resisted by her party and Sinn Fein in previous talks processes are now needed. If talks resume, then the DUP and Sinn Fein need to be crystal clear in their support for further regulation of Special Advisers.

“However for all her protestations, the accountability and responsibility rests with Arlene Foster and she should accept that if this was in any other part of the United Kingdom, she as a Government minister would have stood aside to allow an investigation to take place.

“I would encourage her not to let unionism be judged by Sinn Fein`s standards nor to condone that those standards are acceptable as DUP standards.”

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