Other News In Brief

No Further Excuses For Any Delay In Setting Up Executive - Alliance

There is no further excuses for any delay in setting up an Executive, according to the Alliance Party.

South Belfast Westminster candidate Paula Bradshaw said an Executive is needed to tackle waiting lists and deliver on health transformation.

Ms Bradshaw stated: "The Executive should be up and operational, facing up to the real challenges to our public services and the need for a proper reform process in health and social care.

"Parties received a mandate in March and with that comes a responsibility to deal with key issues such as waiting lists. What is required is an absolute commitment from all to implement the health transformation process as outlined by Professor Bengoa's panel, and an absolute assurance they will get on with the job as soon as possible.

"That is the way to deliver a reduction in waiting lists for good. Anything less than that will confirm the increasingly common view some parties are simply running away from their responsibility to govern on behalf of people and their families currently experiencing great concern and stress as they wait for vital treatment or diagnoses."

RHI Scheme Has Had A 'Corrosive Effect In Public Confidence' - Ó Muilleoir

Sinn Fein has said the botched Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme in Northern Ireland has had a "corrosive effect in public confidence".

The scheme could cost the public purse around £490 million.

MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said Economy Minister Simon Hamilton paid little heed to his appeals throughout 2016 for the closure of the scheme.

He said: "As DUP finance minister, Sammy Wilson, signed off on the financial shambles which is RHI.
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"As DUP economy minister, Arlene Foster, removed cost controls which would have limited losses and signed off on a scheme with glaring financial flaws.

"The RHI debacle has had a corrosive effect on public confidence in the political institutions and has resulted in the squandering of tens of millions of pounds which should have gone to frontline services.

"The latest revelations only deepen public concern about the entire RHI project. It's my hope that the Public Inquiry I initiated will get to the truth of how this scandal was allowed to come about."

Call For Police Funding Crisis To Be Solved

Doug Beattie MC MLA, the Ulster Unionist Party's Westminster candidate for Upper Bann, has supported the Police Federation Chairman in his assessment that further cuts to policing numbers are a "frightening prospect".

He said: "For months now I have been highlighting the problems caused by manning levels in the PSNI and the impact that repeated budget cuts are having on the ability of the Police to protect and serve the community.

"Today we learn that numbers are to be cut by a further 238 over the next two years and I fully agree with Mark Lindsay of the Police Federation that this is indeed 'a frightening prospect'.

"All politicians must now sit up and listen. A crisis has been allowed to develop in police funding and for the sake of everyone in Northern Ireland, it must be resolved.

"The Ulster Unionist Party believes that if the PSNI is going to be able to undertake the roles which society wants it to, then it must be properly resourced. Given that we as a society are still plagued with a serious terrorist threat in addition to 'ordinary' crime, it is quite frankly little short of madness to reduce numbers and cut budgets."


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