After last nights Spotlight programme the UUP leader, Mike Nesbitt has urged the First Minister, Arlene Foster to consider her position over the Heat Incentive Scheme.
In his statement Nesbitt says;
“The mismanagement of the Renewable Heat Incentive and consequent squandering of hundreds of millions of pounds is another scandal, up there with NAMA and the Social Investment Fund.
“This happened on Arlene Foster’s watch in the then Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. To date, her only defence is that she cannot be across ‘every jot and tittle’ of her Department’s operations, but this is no jot or tittle.
“This is the biggest financial foul-up in the history of the country. We will be paying for this for the next twenty years so there are children not yet born who will become Mothers and Fathers before this debt is paid off.
“What is now in the public domain proves hundreds of millions of pounds were wasted needlessly, the Department was dysfunctional, unaware of the rules, and hapless in seeking solutions.
“This is a scandal prone Executive and on this occasion, it comes to a fundamental tenet of democratic government called Ministerial Accountability. If Arlene Foster believes in it, she must consider her position.”
When Arlene spoke with John Manley from the Irish News she denied any responsibility for the botched RHI scheme;
Speaking to The Irish News, Mrs Foster said she was not accepting any responsibility for the scheme’s shortcomings because “it was developed by officials in a way that shouldn’t have been developed by officials”.
When it was highlighted that they were her officials in her department, the DUP leader said: “I hope you’re not suggesting I get to see every single jot and tittle that goes on in every ministerial department.
“Ministers do not get to see that level of detail as you well know. We get to see the overall policy in terms of those renewable schemes.”
But then “detail is important”
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs