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.

Alert me about debates like this

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

Go raibh céad maith agat as an cheist sin, a Phatsy. Is mór an trua nár stop tú ag "Molaim an tAire"; bheadh sin i bhfad níb fhearr. I thought for a minute that the distinguished Member was going to stop at, "I praise the Minister", which would have been the perfect response to my statement.

The issue is that, very importantly, when the spend was found, in January 2016, to be clearly out of kilter with the business case that had been submitted for RHI, my officials — at that time, Mr Storey was the Minister who had stewardship of the Department of Finance, so they were his officials — informed the Comptroller and Auditor General, Kieran Donnelly, who, as the Member will know, is ruthless when it comes to spend that is deemed irregular. That led to the report in June 2016. I know that the Member has studied that report. That, I think, was the most important piece in this jigsaw, which is not yet complete. I believe that the Comptroller and Auditor General served the public interest by issuing that report in June, and that triggered the PAC inquiry. That reporting by the officials, as is appropriate and as they are obliged to do, to the Comptroller and Auditor General in January 2016 was important in uncovering what was happening with RHI and led us to this position today. We are trying to get to the truth of what happened through this public inquiry.