Arlene Foster cornered: Cash-for-ash scandal

Posted By: January 06, 2017

Irish Examiner editorial. Cork. Friday, January 6, 2017

THE North’s cash-for-ash scandal seems one straight out of the playbook so energetically celebrated by our mohair politicians from some decades ago.

Arlene Foster

Significant public funds — €573m — are in jeopardy, if not already lost, but the affair has moved well beyond the waste of public money. It has the capacity to further sour already- strained relations, and threaten Stormont’s delicate stability and the snail’s pace normalization of Northern Ireland.

That First Minister Arlene Foster had to resort to making accusations about misogyny shows how desperate she is. That claim can’t be taken seriously, but it shows that far more than her leadership is in play. Sinn Féin and others are, rightly, pursuing her but must walk a very fine line between exploiting a political opportunity and doing what is right.

Ordinarily, this could be regarded as a spat between neighbors but as Brexit looms anything that weakens the North’s capacity to confidently manage its affairs must be seen as a threat to the whole island. Because of that, Ms. Foster should step down from office until matters are finalized.