Belfast Telegraph

RHI public inquiry judge to give update at preliminary hearing

A public inquiry into the botched Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme will hold a preliminary hearing next week.

Chairman of the probe, retired appeal court judge Sir Patrick Coghlin, will outline details about how the inquiry is gathering evidence .

He will also introduce his panel team and outline the work undertaken by the inquiry team so far.

The hearing will take place in Stormont's Parliament buildings at 11am on Thursday April 27.

The RHI inquiry was set up after it emerged that the green energy scheme was approximately £490 million over budget.

The scheme was intended to increase the creation of heat from renewable sources.

However, businesses have been receiving more in subsidies than they are paying for renewable fuel and the scheme became very oversubscribed.

The fallout from the scandal resulted in the resignation of Sinn Fein's deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, the collapse of Stormont's institutions and the calling of a snap election on March 2.

Sinn Fein's Mairtin O Muilleoir instigated a public inquiry into the RHI when he was finance minister. He said it would be appropriate for it to report within six months.

However, in March Sir Patrick warned the inquiry would not be able to complete its work within the six-month time frame

He said while he understood that politicians and the public were anxious for the inquiry to complete its work as soon as possible, he was unable, at this stage, to indicate how long it would take.

He also ruled out any possibility of a preliminary report saying any preliminary conclusions would be based on incomplete information and might have to be changed.

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