Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin sues DUP over whistleblower note claim

Michelle O'Neill said Arlene Foster's claims about the whistleblower would be 'robustly challenged'. Picture by Matt Bohill

Sinn Féin is suing a DUP politician over claims that one of its elected representatives knew about a so-called whistleblower who warned that the RHI was being abused.

The revelation came as Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O'Neill moved to rubbish Arlene Foster's claims that the late Martin McGuinness was aware of allegations about abuse of the scheme.

Ms O'Neill said the same allegation was the subject of an "ongoing and separate legal action" believed to have been made against another Sinn Féin representative by a DUP counterpart.

News of the legal action involving Stormont's two biggest parties comes as they are expected to be urged to join fresh negotiations aimed at restoring power-sharing.

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Relations between the two former partners in government are already strained following the acrimonious, eleventh hour collapse of the last round of talks in February.

During oral evidence to the RHI inquiry earlier this week, Mrs Foster claimed the late deputy first minister had knowledge of a note which said people were abusing the scheme by running boilers 24/7 and all year round for financial gain.

The DUP leader said she received the correspondence in January 2016, ahead of the scheme's closure

Senior Sinn Féin worker Aidan McAteer has claimed in written evidence to the inquiry that the note "was not shared" with Mr McGuinness "at that time".

Mrs Foster said if she did not give the note to Mr McGuinness, she spoke to him about it.

Reading out a statement at Parliament Buildings yesterday, Ms O'Neill said Mr McGuinness "set the benchmark for good government".

She labelled Mrs Foster's claim an "attack on his integrity" and said it would "robustly challenged".

:: :: The first line of a report in yesterday’s paper headlined, 'Ó Muilleoir: SF not complicit in keeping flawed scheme open', should have been updated to reflect a statement issued by Sinn Féin

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