Eastwood accuses Sinn Féin of exerting itself to avoid public RHI probe

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The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has accused Sinn Féin of “going to extreme efforts to avoid a public inquiry” over the RHI scandal.

He made the comments after Sinn Féin released terms of reference for a proposed investigation that would require new legislation and could be conducted in private.

“Their proposals talk about bringing forward new legislation when legislation to establish a full public inquiry is already in place,” said Mr Eastwood.

“Their legislation could take weeks to bring forward and agree - a full public inquiry could be established tomorrow.

“Sinn Féin appear determined to cook up an inquiry which might be acceptable to the DUP. We are only interested in an inquiry which is acceptable to the public.

“The only blockage in establishing that public inquiry is Arlene Foster’s arrogance. The only reason there may be an election is because of Arlene Foster’s arrogance. After 10 years in coalition together, Sinn Féin must finally end their appeasement of that arrogance.

“This scandal started when Arlene Foster was a Minister - it can only end when Arlene Foster steps aside, the full truth is uncovered and the public purse is protected,” he said.