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Bad Monday for Northern Ireland coalition

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Issue 2536
Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness
Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness (Pic: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye)

The power sharing government in Northern Ireland has collapsed. Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy first minister on Monday, triggering an election.

Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist Party first minister, has been embroiled in a scandal over the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI).

The RHI was set up when Foster was in charge of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

It was designed to encourage businesses to switch from burning fossil fuels to wood biomass. But it paid out more than the fuel cost, meaning users could earn more if they burned more.

It is set to cost the Northern Ireland government £400 million.

People Before Profit assembly member Eamonn McCann said he was looking forward to a “ferocious election” during which the party will offer a real alternative.

He said, “We are not doomed to suffering a constant battle between a form of militant republicanism on the one hand and a form of militant unionism on the other forever.”

He added that even if the government had resolved this crisis, “There would be another crisis coming along down the line.”

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