Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Cash for Ash -Will the Stormont Sinn Féin-DUP Coalition be Incinerated?

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A BBC (Northern Ireland) news story offers a neat summary of the key issues in Belfast’s FosterGate : £400 million disappear into the pockets of Cash for Ash friends of the Stormont Peace Process Government.

Cash for Ash – Stormont Incinerated?

“It is estimated the way the scheme was set-up will cost taxpayers £400m over its 20-year lifetime.

Mr Bell told the BBC that top advisers from his DUP party stopped him from restricting the RHI scheme.

According to Mr Bell, the advisers, who deny the allegations against them, secretly tried to “cleanse the record” of references to Mrs Foster.

Those alleged attempts to alter the papers were made “without my knowledge, without my consent”, Mr Bell said, and were revealed to him by a senior civil servant at the department.

Meanwhile, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has said he has asked the Equality Commission to investigate Mrs Foster’s “failure to act” after comments she made “revealing alleged knowledge of intimidation in the workplace”.

“She clearly stated knowledge of alleged intimidation of female colleagues, yet with no apparent discharge of her duty of care to intervene,” Mr Nesbitt said.

“If this isn’t investigated, what motivation is there for others in positions of leadership to act to protect colleagues?”

Note also that, meanwhile, austerity squeezes the little people via a “Fresh Start” Agreement agreed between the Sinn Féin – DUP Coalition and the main Trade Union leaders.

“Ciaran Mulholland does what the Irish media has so far failed to do, and casts a critical, analytical eye on the so-called Fresh Start deal, which rescued the Good Friday Agreement from collapse following the IRA murder of Kevin McGuigan. It is a victory for neo-liberal austerity, he argues, but could create the basis for real opposition to Tory policies in Ireland.”

The Fresh Start Deal – North’s Sectarian Parties Embrace Neo-Liberal Austerity

This connection was directly addressed by Derry Member of the Stormont Assembly Eamonn McCann :

“We believe there has to be a confrontation not just with Arlene Foster, but with the entire political system.” He added: “Really, politics are based on class. They are based upon the fact that the better off you are, the warmer you are going to be. I would love to get rid of Arlene Foster but then I would love to get rid of the whole lot of them as well. “Why should anyone accept austerity when money is literally burned away by people who are living in warm conditions already.” Referring to the divide between the overwhelmingly nationalist city side of Londonderry and the more unionist Waterside, Mr McCann drew loud cheers from the crowd when he said: “It is as cold on the other side of the river as it is here. It is as cold in Lisburn or Newtonabbey as it is in Newry or Strabane.”

Protests on the Streets of Derry and Belfast

Speaking to the RTÉ Radio 1 News Programme (Sunday December 16) Sinn Fêin Stormont Assembly Member Conor Murphy did not commit his party to voting No Confidence in Arlene Foster in Stormont on Monday December 19. Murphy explained the priority is to save “the institutions” – in plain language that is the Judas Deal mostly known as the Peace Process.

The heat is on Sinn Féin; a few hours after the Conor Murphy RTÉ Radio 1 interview a seemingly stronger party statement emerged :

“Sinn Féin will put forward a motion asking for the first minster to stand aside to facilitate an independent investigation into the RHI scandal.On Sunday, the DUP said it supported the need for an independent investigation, free from partisan political interference, to establish the facts around the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.”

Grave Consequences for Arlene Foster?

Readers are entitled to the suspicion that the true purpose of any DUP/Sinn Féin “independent investigation” is the shutting down of this row, and after a short while, a return to business as usual.

Sinn Féin should be pressured to resign from the Stormont Government – any other behaviour means propping up “Cash for Ash” Foster, colluding with austerity, and implementing a Unionist Veto.

Jonathan Bell (ex DUP) 1
Sinn Fêin (Unionist Veto) Minus 5

A good question is asked here : Is Stormont an Assembly or a Racket?


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