Foster 'does not have my authority or approval' to make statement - McGuinness

Martin McGuinness said the statement Arlene Foster is due to make on the Renewable Heat Incentive has 'does not have my authority or approval as deputy First Minister'.

Monday, 19th December 2016, 9:54 am
Updated Saturday, 24th December 2016, 10:31 am
Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness. (Photos: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press)

Mr McGuinness said Arlene Foster was speaking in a personal capacity and not as First Minister.

Reiterating his call for an independent investigation, Mr McGuinness said: “There is no credibility in an investigation established solely by the DUP or the selective release of some documents.

“That investigation needs to take place urgently. We need to establish all the facts and we need to know who benefited from this scheme.

“The First Minister should stand aside to allow the investigation to take place.

“We also need to see urgent measures that will limit the damage of the scheme to the public purse.”

He said “weeding out corruption and abuse” was also paramount.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said there was no way that Arlene Foster could speak without the authority of the Deputy First Minister.

He also said that MLAs will not be deflected from the real issues at the centre of the RHI.

He also hit out after the Speaker refused to take a point of order.

Earlier this morning MLAs from Sinn Féin, the SDLP, among others, walked out as the speaker refused to take points of order.

Earlier an amendment by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness over the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme scandal was ruled inadmissible.

Mr McGuinness had been poised to call on all parties to support a Sinn Féin amendment calling for Arlene Foster to step aside amid the storm around the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

The amendment was to be tabled in the Assembly today as MLAs are recalled to address the serious fall out over the RHI scheme and its mammoth cost implications for the north.

An SDLP-led motion of no confidence in First Minister Arlene Foster, calling on her to stand aside for six months pending a full investigation into what went wrong with the RHI scheme, is expected to be tabled later today.

Arlene Foster has said she will not stand down from her position at the helm of the Assembly and has strongly denied allegations made by the now suspended former DUP Minister Jonathan Bell.