Belfast Telegraph

RHI Inquiry set to hear final submissions

Sir Patrick Coghlin
Sir Patrick Coghlin

By Rebecca Black

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Inquiry is to enter its final hearing stages next week.

The probe, which is led by retired judge Sir Patrick Coghlin, will hear closing submissions on December 12.

This will include a short presentation of the evidence already heard, as well as oral submissions from lawyers representing three core participants - the Department for the Economy, the Department of Finance and regulator Ofgem.

Oral submissions will also be heard from some of the 27 individuals and organisations who were granted enhanced participatory rights.

These include DUP leader Arlene Foster, former DUP minister Jonathan Bell, a number of the party's special advisers and some senior civil servants.

The RHI Inquiry was set up to examine how costs in the scheme spiralled out of control.

Since its establishment, the probe has exposed many failings at the heart of the entire project.

The scheme was designed to encourage businesses to shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources, but it ended up paying out more than its participants were paying for biomass fuel.

The result was an anticipated massive overspend that would have to be picked up by the taxpayer.

The fiasco led to a political row, the resignation of Martin McGuinness - then Deputy First Minister - and the collapse of power-sharing.

Belfast Telegraph


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