With the election to the cross-community assembly in the north-east of the country due to take place on the 2nd of March, revelations about the RHI or cash-for-ash scandal continue to make the headlines. We can expect a whole raft of press reports over the next few says when, as promised, up to 1000 individuals who benefited from the controversial green energy scheme are named this afternoon (though the identities of some 300 people have been held back due to legal proceedings). So far several politicians and their associates have admitted family links to the dubious subsidies’ process, all within the ranks of political unionism. These include Jim Wells, Carla Lockhart and William Irwin, MLAs with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and Sandra Overend, an MLA with the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). Former UUP MLA Neil Somerville has also come forward to admit an association with the RHI project, as have a number of ministerial “special advisers” working for the DUP arm of the power-sharing executive. However it can be only a matter of time before links with some representatives of the nationalist community begin to emerge. Sinn Féin’s decision to focus its regional election campaign on the theme of equality and civil rights in the British-administered Six Counties is probably a wise one.
Meanwhile, in national politics, a scandal of another sort.