Edwin Poots’s brief tenure as DUP leader has come to an abrupt and somewhat farcical end. The nature of his rapid rise and fall, however, underlines the deep instability, not just in his party, but in the ‘peace process’ as a whole.
Arlene Foster's sudden announcement of her intention to resign as leader of the DUP and First Minister is an important turning point in politics in Northern Ireland. Only the day before the announcement, she was dismissing as rumour the suggestion that 75% of DUP MLAs and MPs had signed a letter calling for her and other senior figures to go.
The scandal around the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme was a key factor in the collapse of Stormont in early 2017. The scheme allowed claimants to profit through perverse ‘burn to earn’ incentives, completely undermining its supposedly green purpose. It seems, however, that RHI was only the tip of the iceberg.
Arlene Foster announced that by reducing physical distancing for children from 2m to 1m, all children would be able to attend full-time from September. This was branded “unrealistic and undeliverable” by Graham Gault, the NI Vice-President of the National Association of Head Teachers.
The story which unfolds is illuminating on a number of levels, but is perhaps most revealing with regard to the close relationship between the Stormont politicians - particularly the DUP - and big business.