Public Inquiry on the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:15 pm on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Sinn Féin 4:15 pm, 24th January 2017

I thank Ms Bradley for her question. The wonderful thing is that when the chair carries out his independent review, the rest of us can say whatever we want, but we cannot interfere with the public inquiry. I think that the Member and I are keen for the public inquiry to be set up, because we know that, on the streets and roads that we work in, and in the communities that we mobilise and are active in, there is outrage over the cost of RHI.

When people in the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts on the Antrim Road, the Mater Hospital, the Ballybeen autism resource centre in east Belfast, the great youth clubs or Sure Start clubs see the scale of the money involved — £85,000 a day — we understand why there is a lack of confidence in the institutions and why there is outrage. I hope that today we have taken a strong step in saying to the public that we understand that they have been hurt by this. This has economic consequences for ordinary people, and we are taking an important step today to start building confidence again by appointing an independent person of great probity who has given his life to the law. We believe that Sir Patrick Coghlin will be impartial and objective, and will, I trust, deliver a report to us that gives us the answers that the public want.