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Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness resigns

Martin McGuinness leaving a press conference at which he announced his resignation. Picture by Mal McCann

SINN Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has resigned. 

In his resignation letter on Monday, Mr McGuinness said the party would not nominate a candidate to fill the position, which which will trigger an election.

Mr McGuinness said First Minister Arlene Foster has a "clear conflict of interest" over her role in the botched Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which has left the taxpayer with a £500 million bill.

Ms Foster was the minister in charge when the scheme was introduced without capped subsidies.

"The minister responsble for the RHI scheme should have no Executive role in overseeing how this will be rectified," Mr McGuinness said.

Read Martin McGuinness' letter of resignation in full

"... the refusal of Arlene Foster to recognise the public anger or to exhibit any humility in the context of the RHI scandal is indicative of a deep seated arrogance which is inflicting enormous damage on the Executive, the Assembly and the etnire body politic.

"The first minister has refused to stand aside without prejudice pending a preliminary report from an investigation. That position is not credible or tenable."

Mr McGuinness' resignation is due to take effect at 5pm.

In a statement he said he had worked with DUP leaders for 10 years and in that time the British government and DUP "have undermined the institutions and eroded public confidence".

In Pictures: Martin McGuinness through the years

"Sinn Féin will not tolerate the arrogance of Arlene Foster and the DUP... Today is the right time to call a halt to the DUP's arrogance.

"There will be no return to the status quo," he added.



Mr McGuinness's resignation comes hours after the first minister accused him of playing a political game of chicken. 

"If he is playing a game of chicken, if Sinn Fein are playing a game of chicken, and they think we are going to blink in relation to me stepping aside they are wrong - I won't be stepping aside," she told the Impartial Reporter.

"And if there is an election, there is an election."

Watch: Who is Martin McGuinness?

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