Public Inquiry on the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:45 pm on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Emma Little Pengelly Emma Little Pengelly DUP 3:45 pm, 24th January 2017

I thank the Minister for his statement. In one sense, it is a little unusual, in that it is not clearly within the Finance brief, but is an operation of the ministerial powers in relation to this. I very much welcome that.

The DUP has, for some time, made it clear that we want an independent and robust inquiry capable of getting to the truth, regardless of what form that inquiry takes. There are some concerns, as the Minister will be aware, in relation to an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 in relation to the potential for excessive legal costs and the potential for a lengthy inquiry. I am somewhat disappointed to hear that there is no intention to publish an interim report. I know that people want to see the truth about this. I know that those who feel unfairly vilified want the truth to come out as soon as possible. What discussions has the Minister had with the chair about the legal costs associated with the inquiry and about a time frame to ensure that the findings can be brought forward as soon as possible?