DUP must urgently restore public confidence in the political process – Kearney
Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has said the political process is being dragged towards an unprecedented tipping point as a result of the DUP's behaviour around the RHI scandal.
Writing in An Phoblacht, Mr Kearney said;
"It’s increasingly obvious the DUP have lost the run of themselves within the northern political institutions.
"The announcement from the DUP communities minister that he was cutting funds for the Líofa Gaeltacht bursary scheme just before Christmas was yet another example of this.
"Recently, we have seen the Speaker compromise the neutrality of his office, and the DUP leader and others show unvarnished arrogance towards other political parties, the wider community, and regarding the significance of the growing political crisis brought about by the RHI scandal.
"This why the DUP leader should step aside from the First Minister’s office to allow a time-framed, comprehensive, independent investigation, led by an international jurist.”
The South Antrim MLA also said pointedly that the Good Friday Agreement cannot be set to the side at the whim of the DUP.
“Political accountability; opposition to austerity; defence of public services and stimulating economic growth; and entrenchment of equality, social justice and democratic rights, must be at the heart of the political institutions.
"The DUP needs to make up their mind, and decide whether as a party it’s committed to the ongoing transformation of northern society, or not.
"This much is clear: it is not acceptable for it to continue opposing parity of esteem for the Irish language and Irish identity; promoting institutionalised bigotry; rejecting and ridiculing the need for reconciliation; and, treating the legacy of the past as a new battlefield.”
He said that the political process has been damaged by a succession of scandals including Red Sky, revelations of corruption in the NAMA sale, ambivalent relationships with unionist paramilitaries, alongside allegations of abuse, insider trading, and aggressive commercial exploitation in the RHI debacle.
Emphasising the seriousness of the political crisis the Party's National Chairperson said;
"Political parties and leaders in the north need to be above scandal and corruption. They should be above reproach, not continuously reproachful towards political opponents.
"The political process has now been dragged recklessly by the DUP, culminating with the RHI crisis towards an unprecedented tipping point.
"Political institutions cease to have value when they do not reflect equality, mutual respect and parity of esteem, and have become detached from the lives of citizens they are meant to serve.
Mr Kearney cautioned;
"Playing fast and loose with the political process and the political institutions is unsustainable.
"There are big decisions to make, and there is very little time."
See the full text of Declan Kearney’s blog at http://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/26573