Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“The DUP’s shameless breach of promise in just 24 hours and decision to remain in the Executive not only leaves that party without a shred of credibility with the Unionist community but also means that Sinn Fein – the political wing of an armed and active IRA – retains its Ministerial posts. If Mr Robinson had resigned, then, automatically that action also removed McGuinness from office.
“Talk about leaving Arlene Foster as a “gatekeeper” is arrant nonsense; a mere cover for the DUP losing its bottle when it came to tipping Sinn Fein out of government.
“But, if Arlene Foster is staying in government with Sinn Fein let her do something useful. She can cripple the North/south bodies by cutting off their funds. Is she going to continue the squander on North/South bodies? These useless institutions have cost £30m of scarce Northern Ireland resources this year alone. Moreover the multiple DUP appointees to these bodies will continue in their remunerated roles.
“I have written to the Finance Minister calling on her to exercise the powers she has to turn off the money tap to these bodies. Mrs Foster, for example, has to approve the grants to these bodies. She could refuse to approve any further expenditure and let them run out of money. But, will she?”
Note to editors
Mr Allister’s letter to Minister Foster, which was sent before the events of yesterday, read as follows:
I note that you and your party colleagues are boycotting North/South meetings.
Could I suggest that additionally you could and should exercise your powers to decline to approve the 2016 grants for these bodies. You have that power under the legislation. Additionally, you could rescind your extant approval for ongoing 2015 spending. These steps would convert the stand on the North/South bodies into something more tangible and effective. I implore you to take these steps.