Sinn Féin role in northern Cash-for-Ash affair raises serious questions

Published on: 28 January 2017

Fianna Fail TD, Niall Collins has called on the Sinn Féin leadership to fully explain its role in the Cash for Ash scandal in Northern Ireland, following the revelation that its newly anointed leader in the north, Michelle O’Neill aggressively promoted the scheme, including its financial benefits, while Agriculture Minister.

It has emerged that while she was Minister for Agriculture in the Northern Assembly, Ms O’Neill organised a series of workshops enticing farmers to join the scheme.

“Michelle O’Neill appears to have joined Arlene Foster in refusing responsibility for her departmental failure to identify the obvious flaw in the scheme. Indeed, her Department worked aggressively to sign people up to it. This latest revelation raises further questions about SF’s posturing on the issue and may explain their deep reluctance to support a full public inquiry into the scam.

“In the absence of any democratic process to select Ms O’Neill, there has not been any opportunity to question her on her role and make a judgement on SF’s culpability in the massive bill facing citizens in the North. And of course now that she has joined the SF leadership, she is adopting the same approach to accountability as her colleagues – deny everything and attack those who ask questions. But that is not good enough.

“We need to hear a full explanation from the Sinn Féin leadership on her role and also an explanation why they decided to use the RHI issue to trigger an election when their own party was directly involved in inflating the costs to the unsustainable levels they have reached.”

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