A CHEAP war of words has broken out between the two leading political parties 1,000 days after the collapse of Stormont.
Tensions have resurfaced just days after it emerged that local MLA expenses reached almost £100,000 in the space of 12 months - despite not sitting at Stormont.
According to figures published by the Assembly last week, the politicians' travel budget alone reached almost £5,000.
As the DUP's Mervyn Storey places the blame for the collapse of Stormont squarely on the shoulders of Sinn Féin, the party's Philip McGuigan blamed the RHI scandal, coupled with what he labelled the 'complete DUP disdain for citizens rights'.
Storey, the Former Minister for Social Development and Finance, told The Chronicle: “For now more than 1000 days Sinn Féin has blocked the formation of a NI Executive and has been allowed to hold NI to ransom.
“No other party collapsed Stormont – only Sinn Féin. Indeed when you now listen to their current leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill she tells that the reasons are Brexit and the DUP’s confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservative Party, not what were told at the start. No doubt something different will be given in the coming days as yet another excuse.”
Mr Storey said it was Sinn Féin who chose to create instability, adding: “It is they who didn’t have the maturity to sit down around the Executive table and sort out issues of contention.”
“As politicians, we are elected to govern. If Sinn Féin are incapable of doing that then they should let those of us who want to, get on with it. There are important matters to address.
“The DUP’s offer remains to sort these contentious issues out while an Executive is functioning within a specified time frame. That would allow us to take decisive action on education, health, infrastructure and investment to benefit all Northern Ireland while reaching an accommodation of the reasonable.
“If not then bring the Assembly to an end and have us Governed from Westminster, another place where Sinn Féin don't attend.”
Hitting back at Mr Storey's remarks, Philip McGuigan said: "Sinn Féin want the Assembly and the other institutions of the Good Friday Agreement up and running.”