The Northern Irish government can only function, by law, with an Executive that is a partnership between a nationalist/republican party and a unionist one. This came to an end today when Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness resigned, citing Arlene Foster’s refusal to resign over her role in the RHI scandal. This doesn’t in and of itself mean that an election will take place however in his resignation speech, McGuinness said that Sinn Féin shall not be nominating another candidate for the position of Deputy First Minister. It is this second aspect of his resignation that makes another election inevitable.
Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster has been facing heat, pun intended, over her handling of the RHI scandal. The RHI scandal concerns a renewable energy scheme that was set up in 2012 to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The scheme was the responsibility of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) and the minister responsible was Arlene Foster. The questions that people are asking are whether or not the scheme was an example of incompetence- and as such the person in change shouldn’t be First Minister- corruption, or unavoidable. The scandal is the largest financial cock-up in the history of devolution because it came in £490 million over budget. Unfortunately Foster has now claimed that calls for her resignation, even though she is clearly culpable, are misogynistic, but what she’s actually doing is seeking an electoral advantage.