Northern Ireland Assembly in crisis after McGuinness quits

Cody PriceJan 11, 2017

Speaking on today's News at One, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the project at the centre of the controversy that kicked off the current crisis, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), was "entirely" a DUP scheme and that the ball was now in the unionist party's court.

Once Martin McGuinness' resignation takes effect, under the joint protocols that govern Stormont's power sharing government, First Minister Arlene Foster also loses her office.

Last night the former First Minister said she was open to talks with Sinn Fein.

DUP leader Arlene Foster along with her party colleagues holds a press conference at DUP headquarters in east Belfast
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His DUP counterpart Arlene Foster is accused of mishandling a Government project on renewable energy, which has cost the taxpayer more than £400 million. The structure of their political office means one can not be in post without the other. Foster will continue in a caretaker role with limited powers.

McGuinness also used his statement to attack Foster's party, the Democratic Unionists (DUP), for "never fully embracing" the principles of the 1998 peace agreement, for having a "negative attitude" towards nationalism and Irish identity, and for "prejudice" against women, ethnic minorities, and members of the LGBT community. But the DUP won't want to look like it's being pushed around by Sinn Fein so that doesn't look highly likely.

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Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire MP then has what the legislation defines as "a reasonable period" in which to set the date for an election.

Foster said she was disappointed by the decision, which she described as "political, not principled", and said her party would "always defend unionism". Much of the scrutiny on Mrs Foster has focused on how she responded to concerns raised by a whistleblower during that time.

"I suspect the confidence they have in the institutions, which was already at an all-time low, has probably dropped further with this announcement today". She was the Minister responsible for the RHI scheme from its inception.

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Brokenshire said an inquiry into the controversial energy scheme would be needed.

She added: "Clearly, the political situation in Northern Ireland is in flux but, .it is important to bring the devolved administrations together to make sure we are working on how we get the best outcome for the UK".

She had repeatedly rejected Sinn Fein's demands to step down temporarily pending the outcome of a preliminary investigation.

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Jack enjoyed a loan spell at Bolton earlier in his career in a bid to up his physicality in the Premier League. The match starts at 20:45 on 3 January 2017.

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