Government crisis in Northern Ireland

Following the resignation of deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland's power-sharing government threatens to collapse. By resigning McGuinness, a Sinn Féin member, hopes to force the head of government Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist Party, who faces allegations of mismanagement in connection with a renewable energies scheme, to step down. Commentators voice dismay at the waste of tax money but can also see a positive side to the scandal.

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The Irish Times (IE) /

A costly chaos for taxpayers

It's only natural for Martin McGuinness and his Sinn Féin party to put Arlene Foster under pressure, The Irish Times believes:

“Outgoing First Minister Arlene Foster has from day one underestimated and belittled the scale of the scandal that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme represents. ... Mr McGuinness’s stance in asking her to step aside temporarily has the backing not just of Sinn Féin but of all the North’s parties except her own. His resignation on Monday is in this instance a proper response from a man who, in his own words, 'has served 10 difficult and testing years in the role of Deputy First Minister', to a shambles that may yet cost Northern taxpayers some 490 million pounds [approx. 562 million euros].”

The Independent (GB) /

Northern Ireland finally dealing with normal problems

The scandal at least shows that politics in Northern Ireland are not completely dominated by the conflict between Unionists and Republicans, The Independent writes:

“Yet in many ways the current crisis is bittersweet. It is perhaps one of the most positive signs so far that Northern Ireland is entering normalised politics through the form of a good old-fashioned financial scandal, a far cry from the tense and extraordinary events of the Troubles. That is not to say, however, that we should be blasé about the current crisis facing Northern Ireland. It offers both a reflection of how much positive change politics in the region has undergone since the peace process, but also offers a stark reminder that peace time politics bring complexities and crises of their own.”