SDLP MP’s Question Secretary Of State On RHI

SDLP MP’s have questioned the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the implications of the deputy First Minister’s resignation and the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme.

SDLP logoAlasdair McDonnell said: “With Northern Ireland already facing uncertainty following the Referendum, the First Minister’s arrogant refusal to step aside has cascaded us into even further insecurity.

“Unfortunately, an election will stall any investigation into the RHI scheme and delay the introduction of any legislation to cap the costs, currently costing our constituents £85,000 a day. The Secretary of State should have intervened long before now, but now that his hand has been forced, he must support a full public inquiry into RHI: election or no election.”

Margaret Ritchie added: “Power-sharing and partnership were at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement and are central to our institutions in Northern Ireland. There has been an erosion of the principle of power sharing by the DUP in the past number of weeks. It is critical that the principle of power-sharing is adhered to and the DUP reminded of it.

“Moreover, the Secretary of State cannot dismiss RHI as purely a ‘devolved matter’. I have written to the Treasury to ask that they release all correspondence between them and DETI regarding RHI and will continue to pursue this with Treasury Ministers.”

Mark Durkan added: “It is the hubris of the outgoing First Minister that has caused this humiliation for our institutions. Sinn Fein are today claiming to have called time on the ‘DUP status quo’, which seems to be their description for the Fresh Start Agreement.

“It is now a time for a real fresh start; one which should include a return to key precepts of the Good Friday Agreement, including the First Minister and deputy First Minister being jointly elected by the Assembly.

“Perhaps then the DUP would realise that it is a joint office and both those Ministers might act as if they are accountable to the Assembly.”