News | Eastwood: Foster must appear before Public Accounts Committee

Eastwood: Foster must appear before Public Accounts Committee

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA has called for an Assembly convention that allows Ministers to escape scrutiny from the Public Accounts Committee to be waived, leaving no impediment to First Minister Arlene Foster accounting for the scandal ridden Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

Mr Eastwood called for deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to stand with him in demanding the highest standard of accountability.

Mr Eastwood said, “The enormity of the mismanagement, the overspend and the incompetence involved in the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme demands the highest level of political accountability.

“The unwritten convention which allows Ministers to duck tough questions should be no impediment to transparency on this issue. And the First Minister cannot use it as a shield to deflect legitimate public interest scrutiny.

“Only in October, Minister Michael Noonan waived a similar convention to appear before the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committees to answer questions on the NAMA scandal.

“There is no reason why Arlene Foster cannot do the same. In circumstances which involve a scandal of this scale - conventions are there to be broken.

“She should end her silence following the Spotlight programme and face up to her legacy of mismanagement and waste.  

“Her partners in Government Sinn Féin also have a particular responsibility to pressure the First Minister into appearing before the PAC. 

“Martin McGuinness should join with me in calling publically for Arlene Foster to attend the committee and to answer questions. He should make that public call today.   

Colum Eastwood MLA

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