Public Inquiry on the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:30 pm on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Sinn Féin 4:30 pm, 24th January 2017

I thank Mrs Bradley for her question. That was a conundrum that we discussed with Sir Patrick Coghlin. First of all, yes, it will be his decision to nominate the panel members, and that will be done. In relation to the delivery of the report, you are absolutely right. I suggested that it should be released to the public, but Sir Patrick Coghlin pointed out that, under the Act, he is obliged to deliver it to the Minister.

So, I have made a pledge on my behalf — and I am here for only another five or six weeks — that any Finance Minister from the party that I belong to will release the report in full, as received, to the public immediately. I would ask that everyone else here endorses that approach. So the conundrum you raise was tackled. It is not the way I would have preferred. I would have preferred that the terms of reference stated that the report would be issued to the public, but as Sir Patrick Coghlin pointed out, he is not allowed to do that under the terms of the Act.