Sinn Féin will not back Foster 'while cloud hangs over her'

Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill at their manifesto launch in Armagh today.

Sinn Féin's new leader in the North has insisted that the party will not immediately enter into power-sharing with Arlene Foster after the March election.

Michelle O'Neill said the party will not support the DUP leader in an executive office until an inquiry into the botched renewable energy scheme is complete.

Launching Sinn Féin's manifesto in Armagh, Michelle O'Neill said while there is a "cloud over Arlene Foster" in relation to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal the party "will not be supporting her position of first minister or deputy first minister in an executive office".

"We have to have a full investigation. We have public concern and outrage and demands for answers. The RHI scheme has been all of the DUP's making," Mrs O'Neill said.

She also said that an Irish Language Act will be a very important issue in any post-election talks, but refused to say if it could be a deal breaker.

Recently Mrs Foster said she would not be supporting the introduction of an Irish Language Act.

Speaking at the launch of her party's election campaign in Lurgan, she said: "If we have an Irish language act, maybe we should have a Polish language act as well because there are more people in Northern Ireland who speak Polish, compared to Irish."

Referring to Sinn Féin demands, she said: "If you feed a crocodile, it will keep coming back for more."

However, Mrs O'Neill said: "The Irish Language Act is an important issue for Sinn Féin. Look at Scotland and Wales. They still have a health service and education service alongside a language act. So we will not be detracted.

"We know what the DUP are trying to do, to take away from the fact this election is about arrogance, disrespect and contempt for the public."

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