Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has announced tonight that his party will be bringing a proposal to the Assembly tomorrow for the First Minister Arlene Foster to stand aside to facilitate an independent investigation into the RHI scandal.
“The current crisis is not about party politics.
“It is not an orange or green issue. It is about restoring the credibility of the power-sharing institutions and dealing with incompetence and allegations of corruption and abuse.
“That is my sole focus and the sole focus of Sinn Féin.
“It is my firm belief the only way to establish the truth of what has occurred and to begin to restore public faith in the institutions is for an independent, time-framed and robust investigation to take place.
“The First Minister should stand aside to allow this. There is also an urgent need to minimise the cost of the scheme to the public purse.
“Given the First Minister’s failure thus far to accept this Sinn Féin will bring forward a proposal to the Assembly which calls on the First Minister to stand aside until this independent investigation brings forward a preliminary report.
“We are calling on all parties and MLAs to support this.
“The statement which Arlene Foster plans to make to the Assembly tomorrow does not have my authority or approval as deputy First Minister. We have told the DUP this.
“If she speaks this will be in a personal capacity and not in her role as First Minister.
“There is no credibility in an inquiry established solely by the DUP or in the selective release of some documents by DUP departments.
“If the DUP does take a unilateral approach, disregarding the authority and joint nature of the Executive Office on an issue which is cross-cutting, with massive budgetary implications and which is undermining public confidence in the political institutions this will have grave consequences.”
“Sinn Féin’s commitment is to making the institutions work for citizens. This has to be on the basis of transparency and equality and putting the people and their interests first.”