Confidence in Stormont Executive at an All-time Low
Cllr Billy Hutchinson has responded to the revelations made by Stephen Nolan on Radio Ulster this morning, noting that further to the initial political scandal of £400 million of wasted public money, it now appears that First Minister Arlene Foster intervened to ensure the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme remained open, despite opposition from senior civil servants.
Cllr Hutchinson stated, “The RHI scandal has gone from bad to worse. Why precisely did Arlene Foster choose to go against the advice of her civil servants, and force the scheme’s continuation? Further, why did we then see a spike in applications? Are there connections between her interest and the increase in uptake in RHI?”
Cllr Hutchinson continued, “The Ministerial Code sets out a series of duties for Ministers – including the following: (i) observe the highest standards of propriety and regularity involving impartiality, integrity and objectivity in relationship to the stewardship of public funds. Has Arlene Foster faithfully upheld this Code in her conduct regarding RHI?”
Cllr Hutchinson concluded, “The money wasted due to the self-interested perpetuation of a badly designed scheme is but one harm amidst this omnishambles. I would add that this simply reinforces low levels of trust in government, and further alienates voters from their elected representatives. Is this what passes for government in Northern Ireland?”