Can’t stand the heat: “defending” unionism

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So the resignation of Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minster this evening has sparked all sorts of accusations from the DUP.

Arlene Foster now totally unable to speak for her ministerial office has said:

“Let me make it clear the DUP will always defend unionism and stand up for what is best for Northern Ireland.

“It appears from the deputy first minister’s resignation letter that is what annoys Sinn Féin the most.”

Now let us look at just what Mr McGuinness said. Before even addressing the current Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI) crisis he says:

“The equality, mutual respect, and all-Ireland approaches enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement have never been fully embraced by the DUP. Apart from the negative attitude to nationalism and to the Irish identity and culture, there has been a shameful disrespect towards many other sections of our community. Women, the LGBT community and ethnic minorities have all felt this prejudice.”

This attack goes far beyond sectarianism, indeed it was only last week when Arlene Foster was mocking the attacks on her as being misogynistic, she also dug up the past. In his resignation letter while acknowledging the past say he has worked with those “diametrically opposed ideologically and politically” to work on a peaceful future.

The thing that has pushed him over the edge is the way the RHI has been handled by the Mrs Foster. He states that it is the public that are demanding “robust action and accountability” on this matter despite all the distracting and denial from the DUP. It is the DUP leader who has a conflict of interest as the scheme was drawn up on her watch at The Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI).

The way that Arlene and her DUP colleagues have dealt with this is in isolation, lacking humility and thinking the people who left the barn door wide open are the only people who should be allowed to sort out all the slurry that has escaped and put it back in the bottle. The are claiming they can keep the scheme at zero cost to the tax payer, something that the Finance Minster’s former economics professor has called  ridiculous.

The heat is on in Stormont. The public are tightening the noose. RHI could bring the DUPers down the public outrage on this and the other issues that Mr McGuinness has mentioned means that defending unionism as the DUP may not be as important as defending the public coffers.

RHI is certainly not doing the latter and that means that as Sinn Féin will not nominate a replacement within 7 days that we live in interesting times.

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