Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has warned about the imminent collapse of the Northern Ireland power sharing government because of the failure of First Minister Arlene Foster to step aside during an inquiry that involves her.
The Renewable Energy initiative was overseen by current First Minister Foster when she was Enterprise Minister in 2013.
It was an incentive scheme to encourage businesses and homeowners to switch to non-fossil fuels for heating, especially wood burners.
However, it turns out that a $450 million cost overrun was allowed to happen by Foster as Minister, and when it was pointed out to her by a whistle-blower she did nothing. Allegations of corruption around the scheme have been made.
Sinn Fein asked her to step aside while an inquiry is held, but she has refused.
Adams said the government may well collapse as a result.
“If the First Minister does not take the actions that society desires and deserves and which a sustainable process of change requires, then Sinn Féin will bring this ongoing and totally unacceptable state of affairs to an end.”
If the executive collapses it is likely there will be another election in short order in the North with an unpredictable result.
In his remarks Adams addressed “the worsening crisis in the political institutions surrounding the Renewable Heat Initiative and serious allegations of corruption, fraud and incompetence."
Adams stated “The future of the political institutions are at a defining point.
For almost ten years Martin McGuinness has jointly led the Executive.
First with Ian Paisley, then with Peter Robinson, and for almost a year now with Arlene Foster.
“Regrettably during most of this time, Martin, and we, have frequently faced deliberate provocation, arrogance and disrespect.
“However, under Martin’s tolerant and tireless leadership the institutions have continued to operate and progress has been made, for example on the difficult issue of the transfer of policing and justice powers.
“The political institutions established by the Good Friday Agreement only function effectively and they can only deliver if they have the confidence and support of the people.
“In the ten years since the institutions were re-established Martin and other Sinn Féin ministers and our Assembly team have navigated a way through a number of crises and scandals.
“A lot of good work has been done by the Executive and the Assembly and The scandal around the RHI is a scandal created by the DUP.
The DUP leader has thus far refused to stand aside, without prejudice, pending a preliminary report by an Independent Investigation to the RHI scandal. She repeated that refusal yesterday.
"That is not good enough. Sinn Féin has been very clear in what we have been saying. Our record is there for all to see.”