13/04/2018

DUP Leader Appears Before RHI Inquiry For Second Day

DUP leader and former First Minister, Arlene Foster, is due to appear before the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) inquiry for a second day of evidence giving.

Mrs Foster led the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) which set up the green energy scheme in 2012, signing off on the incentive project as Minister.

The RHI scheme offered financial rewards to encourage businesses to switch to using renewable fuels. However, a flaw in the scheme rewarded participants with overly-generous subsidies, with a projected overspend of some £700 million over 20 years.
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A scandal over the scheme erupted in December 2016 when the massive overspend was made public and Mrs Foster, as the Minister who had signed off on the project, faced widespread criticism and calls for her resignation.

Mrs Foster refused to stand down as First Minister while an investigation was carried out, ultimately leading to collapse of the Northern Ireland executive, which has resulted in NI not having a government for 16 months.

Mrs Foster appeared before the inquiry on Thursday, during which she said that "she did not think she bore any personal responsibility for the collapse of the RHI scheme" and said that she was glad to have the opportunity to counter what she called "malevolent and misinformed" commentary.

(MH/LM)

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