Northern Ireland news

Robin Swann says DUP involvement in RHI has 'damaged unionism'

Robin Swann said DUP ministers presided over a government of "self-preservation, cronyism and self-service". Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann has accused the DUP of "damaging unionism".

The North Antrim MLA, who on Tuesday said Arlene Foster should have stepped aside during the outcry over RHI that led to the collapse of the executive, said the scandal around the botched green energy scheme was "merely the latest in a long line of scandals" that had dogged the DUP, bringing unionism and politics "into disrepute".

"There is no question whatsoever that the DUP is damaging unionism," he told The Irish News.

"The ongoing revelations about how Stormont was run by the DUP have left unionists horrified that things were being done in their name which were neither good government nor guided by any semblance of a moral compass."

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Mr Swann said there has been a "parade of former ministers and not very special, special advisers" which had exposed the "shambles" of the DUP-Sinn Féin-led administration that governed up to March last year.

"And all the while Sinn Féin were left to do as they pleased on the occasions when they were working hand in hand with the DUP to keep papers off the executive table or delegate ministerial decision making to spads and doing all they could to frustrate openness and transparency," he said.

"It is now clear that DUP ministers have presided over a government where a culture of self-preservation at all costs, cronyism and self-service were dominant, and the result has been a collapse in confidence in politics and politicians."

The Ulster Unionist leader said unionism deserved "much better than this".

Last week, following the declaration of the North Antrim recall petition, Mr Swann urged Ian Paisley to reflect on the actions that led to his suspension from Westminster, saying the shamed DUP MP had brought "embarrassment on Northern Ireland"

Ian Knox cartoon 26-09-18: As mysterious sinkholes appear in Co Monaghan, Arlene Foster tells the RHI inquiry she is accountable but not responsible for the actions of her former Spad 

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