McGuinness and Foster at odds over the response to the RHI Scheme

The Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has called on Arlene Foster to stand aside as First Minister for a period of time

I spoke by phone this afternoon with the First Minister, Arlene Foster.

“I outlined my serious concern that the credibility of the political institutions is being undermined by the serious and ongoing allegations surrounding the design, operation, abuse and ending of the Renewable Heating Incentive Scheme.

“This includes allegations from a former DUP Minster that there was corruption.

“This scheme has directly impacted on the public purse. Taxpayers’ money wasted in this scheme, needs to be retrieved.

“It is my belief the only way to establish the truth, and rebuild the reputation of the institutions, is to urgently establish a fully independent investigation into this matter.

“In addition, I also said that, in the public interest, she should stand aside from the role as First Minister while that investigation is underway and at least until an initial assessment had been concluded into the veracity of all the allegations.

“That is what I would do if I was in this situation. I asked the First Minister to take the time and consider this suggestion carefully

The DUP quickly shot back, rejecting this idea;

Earlier today the First Minister received a phone call from the deputy First Minister. It was suggested the First Minister step aside for a period of time.

The First Minister will not be stepping aside, but instead is focused on ensuring the full facts about this issue emerge and proposals are brought forward which can make a significant reduction in the future financial burden the Executive would face.

The First Minister does not take her instructions from Sinn Fein, but from the electorate

, , , ,

  • Fear Éireannach

    If the majority of representatives of the electorate vote for Arlene to go, will she respect the wishes of the electorate so represented.

  • Lex.Butler

    A slight surprise but indicates that this saga is not playing well in the grassroots and that there is more at stake than Arlene’s reputation. The Assembly’s credibility is on the line and the total cock up needs a proper review. Robinson came back and, if vindicated, so can Arlene. Interesting to see who would replace her as she was the obvious choice during Robinson’s withdrawal.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    NO !

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Arlene will not be coming back she is toast !

  • jm

    She refused to accept any responsibility for the debacle which happened when she was in charge of the department. Why would she start to behave properly now?

  • jm

    I wish I had faith that you’ll be proved right!

  • mickfealty

    Why does anyone think it works like this? It hasn’t done before, has it?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    I have already got 100 quid on it ! Some Balloon give me odds at 5/1 An offer I could not refuse !

  • SilentMajority

    Are the First and Deputy First Ministers not jointly and inseparably responsible and in effect one entity? It is very difficult to believe that in the close relationship and ‘love in’ that the Deputy PM was not directly involved in the process, had full knowledge of it and equally aware, part of and responsible for the mess and attempts to cover up and falsify the records. It is the kettle calling the teapot black. Goebbels/Himmler who has tried to refashion himself as a cuddly friendly ‘granda’ figure may also have met his nemesis. The call should be for both of the rogues to stand down and get off the political stage.

  • billypilgrim1

    “The First Minister does not take her instructions from Sinn Fein…”

    Typical petulant bluster from the DUP.

    McGuinness is trying to help Arlene off the hook with this suggestion, but they are too pig ignorant to realise it.

  • Croiteir

    All I am saying is – why did I not get the tip off? I know a large barn that could easily hold 12 boilers.

  • billypilgrim1

    Nice try.

  • grumpy oul man

    Even the wildest DUP apoligist realises that they cant blame this one on the Shinners.

  • the rich get richer

    And how do you want the bread heated so that it may become toast…..do you want a subsidy with that heat……

  • the rich get richer

    Ye can’t have Shrove Tuesday everyday…….having said that…..it would be nice to keep the pancakes warm……and all that Ash for the Wednesday .

    People could have been having Ash baths

  • Declan Doyle

    Ha ! Nice try but, no.

  • mac tire

    Ash-ers?

    I’ll get me own coat.

  • GEF

    Bell, Foster & Dodds need to stand down for the future of the DUP. Likewise their 3 SPADs involved need sacked for letting the situation get so far out of hand costing the taxpayer £400 million.

  • Lionel Hutz

    But if Sinn Fein back the no confidence vote then they will have to collapse the executive surely. It’s untenable.

  • Teddybear

    The petition of concern is abused beyond satire. It needs to go. New elections too.

    Note: SDLP/UUP being in opposition does not mean SF wouldn’t join them in government next time around or even with UUP without SDLP. It’s a volunary arrangement and I can’t see SF or DUP giving up any seat at the top table

    SF/DUP are their most seditious and dangerous when outside power. It’s worth bearing this in mind

  • North Down

    Was it 400 mill over 20 years, I heard most of it hasn’t been spent yet, and it didn’t come out off the ni budget , I hear Westminster was paying for this, something Mr nolan leaves out

  • North Down

    Still has my vote, haven’t heard any dup supporter, switching parties, most of us think it’s a stich up to a degree,

  • Declan Doyle

    MMcG has chosen the correct time to move on this. It shows him to be responsible whilst not opportunistic. It reflects a recognition within the party that the people are not Stupid and can see perfectly well thru the disengenuous opportunism that is modern politics.
    A good example is the B&A poll this weekend showing SF up to 19% with both coalition parties FG/FF down two points each despite the Stack circus.

  • GEF

    Please enclose documented evidence to support that you heard the £400 million will not “come out off the ni budget”.
    Plus what you “hear Westminster was paying for this”

  • file

    Stay where you are, wolf; that is funny.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Stitch up by whom?

  • 05OCT68

    The £400 million is the projected overspend on the scheme, the Treasury are refusing to pay it I think because the scheme should have been closed down earlier. It will come out of the NI budget £20 million a year for 20 years

  • 05OCT68

    I believe the total cost of the scheme is £1.8 billion (incredible I know). £1.4 billion founded by the treasury, Stormont to foot the remaining £400 million because of the shambles.

  • 05OCT68

    Why Isn’t it National News, If the people in GB knew this she’d be gone.

  • 05OCT68

    Stitched up by HM Treasury?

  • Thomas Girvan

    Maybe Mr Nolan wasn’t aware that you had heard that.
    You should reveal your sources to him.

  • Granni Trixie

    The sheer magnitude of the waste makes this case different plus the culmative impact of so many scandals around the DUP.

  • Granni Trixie

    Have you been on mars? Yes, it was talked about on the airwaves that some MLAS THOUGHT this was the case. As this is not so That was their stupidity. ( and I use the word stupid rarely )

  • Granni Trixie

    Plus if the reason they went for this wasteful version of the scheme was because they expected it not to come from NI budget isn’t that immoral in itself? It resurrects the image of ‘us as ‘spongers’ (as Harold Wilson put it).

  • Granni Trixie

    I was with you right up until you got in the dig about the Stack.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Yes Please I also like that aroma smell of wood burning pallet chips in the air (it reminds we of my youth staying out at night and guarding the bony). Ps make sure the toast is well burnt on both sides !

  • GEF

    RHI scandal: How does the £400m overspend add up?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38344185

  • the rich get richer

    Were the Dup fundamentalists trying to create the Fires of Hell on Earth………………..

    I suppose the British taxpayer should pay for Dup fantasies……Well in the eyes of the Dupers it seems……

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    This is actually a tricky one for SF; as soon as they comment on this debacle then the wagon-circling begins.

    Anyone who was sitting on the fence regarding this would be ushered into the DUP camp by SF speaking out against Arlene.

    But if they don’t speak out then they get both barrels from the public.

  • GEF

    See Gerry has now come in to support Martin against Arlene.
    “RHI scandal: Gerry Adams calls for independent investigation”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38352028

    Wonder are they both dreaming this might be the DUP’s ashes. Could the Shinners possibly become No 1 party at Stormont if they top the poll at the next election.

  • North Down

    No, but they’re were things that Nolan left out, the money didn’t come from ni block grant, was a scheme from Westminster , what power do the spads have the civil servants who for me are the real problem, it will all come out

  • North Down
  • Gopher

    The problem is in Northern Ireland and its plain as day, the POC enables parties who are in government with the DUP to say and do what they like and you wont actually know their true intent because that POC in “governmental” hands shields them. My belief is once you see the list of the scheme you will find the whole of Stormont is rotten to the core. I dont believe it is just SF hiding behind the DUP petition of concern. The political and legal response has been so ineffectual that it strongly suggests this fraud runs deeper.

    I am at a loss with the accusations flying about all the revelent papers have not been seized by an overarching enforcement branch (I trust no local body in this matter) and put in a secure location as I fear some “accident” will befall them.

  • North Down

    CIVIL service

  • North Down

    Thanks

  • GEF

    Westminster is not paying for the overspend £405 million. Please read your enclosed article properly.

    “The Treasury did not impose a penalty for excess expenditure in 2015-16 but made clear that from now on Stormont will have to make a contribution from the block grant…. And in November, the senior civil servant David Sterling told Stormont’s Public Accounts committee that the total overspend cost to Stormont is now estimated “to be in the region of £405m”. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38344185

  • Declan Doyle

    I was making a valid point. When you use victims as a political football, the public see it for what it is.

  • hotdogx

    Maybe collapsing the executive now is a great idea!
    With an election possibility on the horizon people may want to reconsider their position with regard to the Brexit fiasco, who has the best interests at heart for Ireland the British or the Irish

  • Redstar

    So as expected the Shinners bottle it yet again and will not back the motion for Foster to stand aside. Pathetic

  • John Collins

    And how is it somehow OK to waste public money, just because it does not come out of the block grant. How very un British Old Boy.

  • 05OCT68

    Scandals involving land, property & money. A party of the working class?

  • Granni Trixie

    So you are falling into DUP line? Protect SPADS (and Arlene) at at all costs. Could it be I ask myself that SPADS know where the bodies are hidden,metaphorically speaking. Put it another way – the are at least 5 SPADS to advise – paid at high rates- whAt were they doing? And interesting that one of them has now quietly resigned.

  • 05OCT68

    Stephen Brimstone, where have I heard of him before?

  • the rich get richer

    There should be no one cold this Christmas in Northern Ireland at least…………………..

  • Granni Trixie

    I agree.

  • 05OCT68

    The business that benefited from the scheme should be made to take in the homeless this Christmas & the next 19.

  • 05OCT68

    NAW,NAW,NAW! The public won’t stand for this to turn into ANOTHER Stormont crises adding the cost of anelection to this shambles. This debacle proves that outside of “us & them” politics our MLA’s aren’t fit for office.

  • 05OCT68

    £390 million to refurbish Buck House, maybe the Treasury thinks HM most loyal subjects should pay for it?

  • 05OCT68

    Questions as to the source of the fuel, as the scheme was to pay for “useful heating” how & who calculated a buildings heat load, political relationships to business that benefited from the scheme, what did the minister know & when did she know it, do SPADS have a veto over ministers, what special knowledge re renewable schemes did SPADS have?

  • GEF
  • 05OCT68

    Thanks for the links & the “link”

  • Granni Trixie

    On the button.

  • Madra Uisce

    Where to you get this information from?
    Do you actually check that anything is actually true before you post?

  • North Down

    It’s out there, other people heard the same in hear, if it’s right or wrong it’s still out there, and it didn’t come from the NI grant, that’s fact

  • North Down

    No a said the main problem lies with the spads, also civil servants, doesn’t mater which department they are at , was talking to a doctor at work he said ,it’s really the civil service runs the show, minster only a face ,

  • North Down

    Un British old boy very good, who is to blame in your opinion, d.u.p, spads or civil servants

  • North Down

    Senior civil servants is the main problem, trust me it is much less, can’t wait to text you in coming weeks when all comes out

  • Granni Trixie

    Well tell your doctor friend that as far as the public are concerned the buck stops with elected minister/MLas. Any boss in any organisation who leaves everything to those further down the chain risks being a hostage to fortune. I’m not for one minute saying that a Minister or MLA ought to micromanage rather that they should exercise judgement and set up systems which ensure they give due attention to what is important. This case shows what can happen when they don’t.

    At the very least do you not think the current case tells us that major change is called for. Or are you saying it’s good enough.. unaccountabl .civil servants run the place and that’s that?

  • Granni Trixie

    Yes, you have to be careful …didn’t some accounts of SIF or a group linked to it have to be qualified because some docs were lost in a fire?

  • 05OCT68

    Your doctor is correct, the civil service run the show, that’s their role, to implement policy, but he fails to realize that ministers dictate policy. The role of SPADS at Stormont needs reviewed, why do they have to be full time? If you or I need special advice on a subject we would go a see a person with expertise on that subject, get advice, pay them, end off. Unless these SPADS are expert on everything why are they full time? Did the guys who invented the internet never hear of Stormont SPADS the font of all knowledge.

  • North Down

    Very good post, we knew minister’s dictate policy, but the problem is spads and civil servants think they know better, ministers don’t really know the post they have been gavein, and they have been hampered by the civil servants, for me lots of high civil servants should b sacked but we’ll protected, as a unionist I get wind up when the sinners on hear or having a field day , when they’re was lots of information Nolan left out, but I can c you are well clued on by your post very good

  • 05OCT68

    Small barn if it only holds 12 boiling hens.

  • 05OCT68

    Which part of the private sector did Stephen go to, any idea?

  • North Down

    Yes major changes is called for, and buck does stop with minster, but as you know other people are pulling the strings, and spot on they should set up systems so they policy’s can go through

  • Croiteir

    I take free range seriously – and if I could get paid for the ranges I would take it even more seriously

  • 05OCT68

    If your getting them for free I’d go for an Aga.

  • 05OCT68

    North I’m a committed nationalist (small n) & a republican (small r), no person born below me nor above me. Check out my handle, I was taken on that march as a 4 year old. Baton charge & water cannon seared on my mind. As a new Ireland nationalist I’m disappointed with unionist politicians they have proved themselves as inept & corruptible as any in the Republic. I thought they could be a positive influence in a new Dáil. I object to your misspelling of a political party only in that it is disrespectful to a language that is spoken in three regions of the British Isles.

  • mickfealty

    That’s only going to be compounded by SF’s judge led inquiry over a few simple issues the PAC could dispatch to the boundary in fairly short order.

  • hotdogx

    It’s a feckin joke all of this. Ah well they can do the Hokey Cokey and turn a round and that’s what it’s all about!
    Ouuu hokey cokey cokey!!
    I’m sure this is what Carson was singing when he divided Irishmen against each other & sent Oscar Wilde to his destruction! After all they probably wouldn’t make an oscar Wilde cake at Asher’s
    An thus NI is a failure, the national distraction applies

  • John Collins

    Of course civil servants run the show. After all who expect would most of the self important loons we elect, on both sides of the border, to run anything
    Down here when Des O’Malley, one of the few good politicians we had, walked into to his office ,on his first day as Justice Minister, he received a solitary welcome
    Greeting him, the Department’s then veteran Secretary said ‘You are fourteenth minister I will have served under, Kevin O’Higgins was the first and they shot him’.
    The message was emphatic

  • Granni Trixie

    And Adams down in the polls. You left that out.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Actually thats quite an interesting result in that Adams can go down but Sinn Fein go up, maybe it signals that some of the public are making a distinction that could ultimately benifit the party. In some ways it also very surprising that Adams generally manages to keep his approval rating on a par with other southern leaders despite the fact that he is never out of a media that portrays him in such a negative light constantly, he has something it would appear.

  • Granni Trixie

    You sound as though you believe that negativity towards Adams is due to the impact of media attention rather than that the Mercia is reflecting how many people perceive him.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Its not at all personal for me in any way. I tend to deal with a persons world view rather than their politcal or religious beliefs. But to answer your point, many people admire Adams whether one likes it or not. People can sometimes become Media Ill, a constant negative focus on one character no matter who it is can sometimes have the reverse affect. A study after the last Irish GE found that media coverage of Adams and Sinn fein broke all records in terms of negative bias. All other parties appeared in the green neutral or positve spheres. Sinn fein were deep in red negative figures. So one must at least wonder how it is that Adams and his party manage to ride over that wave and perform reasonably well. It would make for an interesting study some day.

  • Granni Trixie

    You make fair points here. Media bias brings up questions about the nature of bias. Is a focus on misdeeds and contradictions bias? Coukd just be a reflection of negative facts. But ofcourse brings up choice which is where I imagine you would say bias kicks in.

    I have often wondered why anybody would vote for Adams it’s beyond my comprehension.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    I think it confuses people when there is an attempt to paint any individual as evil incarnate when its demonstrably untrue, human nature itself rejects any assertion of complete imperfection because of its rarity. Also it is muddling when one can touch sense and feel something that bares no resemblance to how it is described.

    We all wonder from time to time how candidate X gets across the line, its the terrible beauty of democracy.