Justice minister urged “get off the fence” over botched scheme

Posted By: January 04, 2017

John Manley. Irish News. Belfast. Wednesday, January 4, 2917

NOT COMMENTED: Justice minister Claire Sugden has been told to “get 
off the fence” following silence on the RHI scheme

JUSTICE Minister Claire Sugden has been urged to “get off the fence” over the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) controversy.

The independent MLA, who was recruited into the executive after Alliance rejected the Justice portfolio last May, has not commented on the RHI scandal since before Christmas. The minister voted against December’s SDLP motion of no confidence in Arlene Foster, calling it “premature.”

“It would be remiss of me, particularly as justice minister, to pass judgment without a full investigation or hearing,” Ms. Sugden told the assembly on December 19.

“No court in the land would do so, so why is it appropriate to do so in the House today before a fair, independent investigation?”

Efforts by The Irish News to contact Ms. Sugden have so far proved fruitless.

An Ulster Unionist spokesman said it was time for the East Derry MLA to “exert pressure on both the DUP and Sinn Féin.”

He said she had been “ridiculously silent” on the RHI issue.

“Her performance has been a massive disappointment, and if she is to be true to her promises to hold others to account, she needs to get off the fence and prove she is not simply so beholden to the DUP and Sinn Féin that she has her fingers in her ears,” the spokesman said.