01/10/2018

RHI Boiler Inspection Progressing At A 'Snail's Pace'

The process of inspecting RHI boilers is said to be progressing at a "snail's pace" and is unlikely to establish the full extent of the misuse of the scheme, according to a former deputy chairperson of Stormont's Public Accounts Committee

SDLP MLA John Dallat has called for a reassessment of the inspection process claiming that this is essential if the report from the RHI Inquiry is to reflect truly the extent of what happened.

The MLA for East Derry said: "While it is reassuring to witness the drama of the Inquiry played out in the Senate Chamber in Stormont, the real action must be on the ground investigating the installation of these burners and the accurate reporting of the extent of the misuse.
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"It is shocking to learn that less than 200 boilers have been inspected and it is even more disturbing to hear the pathetic reasons why more progress hasn't been made. We are dealing with a scandal potentially involving more than £500m and what we have discovered so far is a laisse faire approach to the actual inspection process.

"Given the performance to date I am not satisfied that this process will unveil the full extent of the abuses of this scheme and that is not acceptable. Had the Assembly been up and running with a Public Accounts Committee in place perhaps we could have done something to ensure that critical elements of this Inquiry are not swept under the carpet, ensuring that everyone involved is held accountable. The last thing that we want is a second scandal involving the continuing payment of taxpayers' money to people who are still operating burners that they do not qualify to be receiving large sums of money for.

"The investigation into the boiler scandal must be a root and branch affair as promised by the Department for the Economy in 2017. To date that investigation hasn't been exactly at boiling point."

(MH/CM)

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