Just received a tip off from an SF rep that Martin McGuiness is resigning.
Thomas, a chara,
This is for your information only and should not be circulated further.
The Ard Chomhairle met in Dublin last night and following a proposal from Martin McGuinness agreed that with effect from 5pm this evening Martin McGuinness will resign his position as deputy First Minister in the Executive.
This decision was not taken lightly but it is clear the political institutions in the north have become unsustainable. The RHI scandal and the manner in which the DUP has handled it, has significantly deepened a crisis that already existed. The Fresh Start agreement, negotiated one year ago, was meant to signal a renewed commitment to powersharing based on mutual respect and equality. Instead through their arrogance and contempt the DUP have further undermined the political process and degraded the political institutions.
Nationalist and republican expectations of and confidence in the political institutions has nose dived as a result of this and also as a result of allegations of unionist corruption, malpractice and incompetence;
• The Red Sky scandal
• The NAMA corruption revelations
• The clientelism between unionist politicians and unionist paramilitaries.
All of these issues have had serious repercussions for the integrity of the institutions and have meant that they have become increasingly detached from the lives of people they are meant to serve.
Sinn Féin has kept faith with the political institutions because we are mandated to do so. For almost ten years Martin McGuinness and our Assembly team have navigated a way through a number of crises and scandals caused by the DUP. A lot of good work has been done by the Executive and the Assembly and significant progress has been made on many issues, including on cross border and all-Ireland matters. Nobody more than Martin McGuinness has shown leadership and reached out to make political progress.
But we are not prepared to confer legitimacy upon political institutions which are being undermined.
The process and principles of the Good Friday Agreement cannot be set to the side at the whim of the DUP.
The political institutions upon which the political process is based must reflect equality, parity of esteem and mutual respect.
Political accountability; opposition to austerity; defence of public services; stimulating economic growth; and entrenchment of equality, social justice and democratic rights must be at the heart of the political institutions.
The DUP must restore public confidence in the political process and institutions
The British and Irish governments have internationally binding obligations which they have failed to implement with respect to equality and parity of esteem. The two governments must now fulfil their responsibility.
Why it has come to this point
When the DUP entered government on the basis of partnership with Sinn Féin in May 2007 it did so because it recognised that was the only basis upon which it would exercise political power. In the years since then the DUP has adopted a negative approach to many important issues facing the powersharing Executive to serve a unionist agenda and objectives. At times there has been a calculated and tactical refusal by it to make the Executive work through partnership and in an inclusive and collective way. The DUP’s attitude in government has often been marked by an arrogance which ignores the rights of others. None of this should surprise us.
The fact is that senior DUP figures have always been ideologically and culturally opposed to powersharing and partnership government with Sinn Féin. They are unionists. They have sought to use the political institutions to oppose parity for the Irish language and identity; promote institutional bigotry; to ridicule and reject the need for reconciliation; and hold back progress on dealing with the past.
Our relationship with political unionism will always be determined by these issues until political conditions are changed. Sinn Féin’s job is to create those changes as a transition to Irish Unity.
RHI Scandal must be addressed
Our approach to the RHI scandal has been to urgently address the loss of public confidence and the resulting loss to the public purse due to the corruption and abuse; and presided over by DUP ministers, including that Party’s leader. To that end Sinn Féin has set out as absolute conditions that the DUP leader must step aside as First Minister in order to allow for an independent, transparent, robust, time framed investigative process, overseen by an independent judicial figure, from outside the north, with the necessary powers to compel witnesses and evidence.
The Sinn Féin proposal is the optimum approach to get to the full truth of this situation, in a time bound and cost effective manner. Our model requires bespoke legislation to confer the powers of compellability on the investigation panel. While the DUP have stated that they now accept this the DUP leader continues to refuse to step aside.
The DUP leader has a clear conflict of interest. She was the Minister responsible for the RHI scheme from its inception. She oversaw its operation for almost three years as Minister. Warnings from energy companies and the Ulster Farmers Union about the scheme were ignored, as were warnings from whistle blowers and others about the potential for abuse, corruption, and fraud. The failure to act on these warnings and the stripping out of cost controls has led to the largest potential loss to the taxpayer of any government scheme in the history of the northern state.
A qualitative transformation in the political process is now required. The crisis cannot be dealt with in the immediate term. An election is therefore likely and will probably be followed by lengthy negotiations. The deepening political crisis demands that all of these issues are now finally and comprehensively delivered upon by all parties and the British and Irish governments.
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Jaysus, parties with links to paramilitary's? say it isn't so...
Seems likely that the SF that will enter the elections will be a fundamentally different party to that which will emerge from the elections. They'll have to spend a considerable amount of money unplanned for and will return with fewer MLA's and will have less SPADS and less cash for the average industrial worker.
Me thinks foreign cash will now play a greater part in SF so they'll be tugging at the forelock of the wealthy yanks even more now.
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