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Arlene Foster welcomes apology from commentator Jude Collins over RHI 'fake news'

Arlene Foster has welcomed an apology from the writer and broadcaster Jude Collins over what he described as "fake news" over the RHI scandal.

It comes after false claims of links between Arlene Foster and a Fermanagh wood product supplier circulated on social media. Mrs Foster said they were lies.

Writing in his blog on Thursday, Mr Collins described the claims as a "prime example of fake news" and that he was "foolish" to believe them.

He said: "A few weeks ago, I posted a link to a posting by a fictitious person – I can’t even remember his/her name now – which claimed to have researched and established links between Balcas and Arlene Foster.

"This was a prime example of fake news and I was foolish enough to believe it. I am happy to apologise unreservedly for my carelessness in promoting what now emerge as lies."

DUP leader Arlene Foster responded in a tweet: "I welcome this apology for spreading lies about both myself and my family."

The Renewable Heating Incentive scandal led to the collapse of the devolved institutions.

The green energy scheme was found to pay businesses £1.60 for every £1 they spent leading to a near £500 million overspend in the scheme.

It was set up by Arlene Foster when she was Enterprise Minister.

Mrs Foster has always denied wrongdoing. At a special sitting of the Assembly in December the DUP leader said she "had nothing to hide" over the matter and always followed her officials' advice. During her time as minister there was an underspend in the scheme.

Sinn Fein Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir has opened a public inquiry into the scheme.

More: Full Arlene Foster statement to Assembly over RHI debacle

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