Belfast Telegraph

RHI scandal: Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy says claims could lead to police investigation

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy said the devolved institutions have been damaged over the Renewable Heating Incentive, saying claims the scheme was deliberately kept open after it was found to be seriously flawed could lead to a criminal investigation.

The MLA also refused to be drawn on if he and his party, the DUP's partners in government, have confidence in First Minister Arlene Foster.

The first minister and DUP special advisers have all denied wrongdoing in the botched scheme.

More: First Minister Arlene Foster blocked attempts to shut down scheme that could cost taxpayer £400m, claims DUP's Jonathan Bell

Speaking to the BBC, Conor Murphy said the devolved institutions have been "badly damaged" by the scandal which could cost the public well over £400m. He also said his party would support a public enquiry into the workings of the scheme.

He said: "What we need to do is to get to the truth and have a full exposure of what happened.

"We have to find out who was responsible, hold them to account, deal with them in proper and prompt fashion and then we have to deal with the money and trying to recover as much as possible."

<< Listen to Mrs Foster's full interview >>

The Newry and Armagh MLA - like the Sinn Fein Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir earlier this week - refused to be drawn on if he had confidence in the first minister.

He said: "The way to resolve all of this is to get to the bottom of what happened.

"You can bring forward a motion of no confidence, grab the headlines and actually not achieve anything.

"Had I said I had confidence, you would say you were surprised and had I said I had no confidence, you would also say you would be surprised. This is one of those no win situations.

"The media works on basis of headlines and others are content to grab them.

"We operate in government and are intent on getting solutions, not tomorrow's headlines."

Asked if Sinn Fein would demand "a price for towing the line not making life more difficult" for Mrs Foster, Mr Murphy said that was a "false representation" of all his party had done since the scandal was uncovered, saying they had led the way in asking questions.

"What we need to do is get to the truth and have full exposure of what happened," he said.

"The implication information the scheme was kept deliberately open in its lucrative stage to allow people to apply is very serious accusation which could lead to allegations of a criminal nature, if that were to be stacked up."

More: Timeline: How Renewable Heat Incentive unfolded

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