Belfast Telegraph

Home News Politics

No agreement between DUP and Sinn Fein on RHI independent inquiry - plans 'insufficient' blasts Conor Murphy

Sinn Fein have rejected plans for an investigation into the RHI fiasco branding the proposals 'insufficient'.

In her interview with the Belfast Telegraph, First Minister Arlene Foster revealed that the head of the Civil Service, in consultation with the Attorney General, had drawn up terms of reference for an independent inquiry into the RHI debacle.

The DUP leader said they had been sent to Sinn Fein but no response had been made.

Calls have been made for a full-blown public inquiry into the matter, something both ruling parties have rejected.


First Minister Arlene Foster vows not to quit as she devises strategy to bring down cost of RHI energy scheme

Naomi Long and Nichola Mallon reject Arlene Foster misogyny claims over calls to stand down for RHI probe 

On Wednesday morning, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy said there has been no agreement with the DUP over the terms of reference of an independent investigation into the RHI scandal.

The MLA added: "The proposals from the Head of the Civil Service are insufficient.

“In order to restore public confidence in the political institutions we need an independent investigation, which is robust, transparent, time framed and led by a senior judicial figure from outside the jurisdiction and with the power to compel witnesses and sub poena documents.

“Arlene Foster should step aside to facilitate that investigation pending a preliminary report.”

The Renewable Heating Incentive is expected to cost the taxpayer over £400m. Government departments have been at odds over the full cost with the DUP Department of Economy saying it will be a maximum of £490m over 20 years, while the Sinn Fein led Department of Finance says that figure is over £600m.

The scandal arose after caps were not put in place to restrict tariffs on cash paid out to businesses who used the scheme to install and run biomass boilers. When the cost of the wood pellets fuel used by the boilers plummeted, the fees paid out remained at a higher level meaning for every pound spent, businesses were receiving £1.60.

Some businesses were found just to use the heating in order to rake in as much money as they could. One empty barn was found to be heated in order to generate profit from the scheme.

The scheme was set up by Arlene Foster who was Enterprise Minister at the time. Last month in a special sitting of the Assembly she apologised for the lack of controls but defended her role.

More: Timeline: How Renewable Heat Incentive unfolded

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph