Catney calls for answers

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SDLP Lagan Valley MLA Pat Catney has said that the issues raised in Tuesday’s BBC Spotlight programme about the Assembly’s speaker also raise serious questions for both the DUP and Sinn Féin.

Mr Catney said: “The DUP and Sinn Féin were jointly responsible - it was their government.”

He said: “The serious allegations on the BBC’s Spotlight programme cannot be swept under the carpet.

“Robin Newton should immediately resign as the speaker of the Assembly and his position as an MLA is now in serious question. Mr Newton has been misleading the Assembly and the public since last year when the SDLP Deputy Leader, Nichola Mallon, first asked him to clarify his relationship with Charter NI.

“I was elected as an MLA in March. Since then because of political stalemate and failure I have only been able to sit in the Assembly chamber once. If we ever do reconvene Robin Newton should not be there.

“The DUP leader needs, very quickly, to respond to the Spotlight revelations.

“The public have every right to be angry - the last 10 years of government in Northern Ireland has brought us scandals in RHI, Red SKY, NAMA and now SIF.

“The Spotlight programme also contains huge questions for Sinn Féin – they cannot wash their hands of their role in all of this. As a party they were jointly responsible for the SIF funds and for every other decision which went through the Executive Office. They were jointly responsible for the channelling of funds to groups linked to the UDA.

“Therefore, they are jointly responsible for the corruption of Northern Ireland’s politics. This was their status quo and they were up to their necks in it.”