Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams centre stage at DUP manifesto launch
ARLENE Foster name-checked Sinn Féin a staggering 32 times in a speech yesterday at the launch of the DUP's manifesto.
By contrast, the under-pressure former first minister chose not to mention the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme and referred to her own party just 14 times.
Unveiling her policy pledges before the 2016 election last April, the DUP leader mentioned Sinn Féin just once and made no reference whatsoever to Gerry Adams.
Yesterday Mrs Foster made 12 specific references to the Sinn Féin president.
The DUP leader was responsible for overseeing the botched green energy scheme as enterprise minister between 2012-2015 before moving to the Department of Finance and Personnel.
The generous subsidies paid to around 2,000 farmers and businesses are forecast to cost Stormont up to £490m over the next 20 years.
Notably, neither Mrs Foster nor her deputy Nigel Dodds would answer questions from the media at the manifesto launch in east Belfast yesterday.
Sinn Féin last night claimed the focus on republicans and Mr Adams was an attempt to deflect public attention away from the RHI scandal and allegations of corruption associated with the scheme, which have been denied.
The party's Sinead Ennis said: "Sinn Féin is standing for equality and respect for all citizens and restoring integrity back into the heart of the institutions."
Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie said the DUP was "attempting to whip the unionist electorate into a state of perpetual fear".
"Instead of scaremongering why don't they tell the people what they are going to do about the RHI scandal, clearly explain their role in it and where they are going to get the money from to replace the £85,000 per day currently going up in smoke?" he said.