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Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir outlines Renewable Heating Incentive inquiry terms

Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir has outlined the details of the Renewable Heating Incentive inquiry which he has pledged will be "wholly independent to get to the truth".

The Sinn Fein MLA revealed the inquiry will be chaired by retired judge Sir Patrick Coghlin and the terms of reference to which he will work.

The finance department said the work will get underway on February 1 and will report as "expeditiously as possible".

Mr O Muilleoir said: “I now have in place an independent inquiry chair, distinguished retired Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Patrick Coghlin, who was nominated to chair the inquiry by the Lord Chief Justice. I am very pleased Sir Patrick has agreed to lead the inquiry and I know that he will be unflinching in his pursuit of the truth and scrupulous in his analysis of the evidence.

“The independent investigation will have the powers to compel witnesses and evidence and I pledge that as minister I will ensure the inquiry is free of ministerial control or interference. I call on all parties to make a similar pledge in relation to any future finance minister.

 “There is an urgent need to get to the facts of the RHI scheme, to identify negligence, incompetence, alleged corruption and abuse, and to hold those responsible to account.

“I am aware that the RHI issue goes beyond financial matters to questions of governance and probity. By getting to the truth of the RHI scandal, this inquiry team, led by the distinguished Sir Patrick Coghlin will, I believe, address those wider issues, and, therefore, go some way to rebuilding the shattered public confidence in the institutions.”

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