ANALYSIS: The list helps paint a picture but the inquiry will get to the heart of the scandal - The Irish News
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ANALYSIS: The list helps paint a picture but the inquiry will get to the heart of the scandal

Political Correspondent John Manley

GIVEN the massive political controversy surrounding the botched Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), it is vital in the interests of transparency to make public who is benefiting from the lucrative scheme.

The list published on Thursday afternoon by the Department for the Economy helps build a picture of where an estimated £490m has been committed over the next 20 years or more, but it is not comprehensive.

Missing, due to a court ruling earlier this month, are the names of individual claimants.

That list may emerge in the coming weeks once the department adheres to Mr Justice Deeny's recommendation that any objections claimants have to being identified are properly considered.

Like the list of businesses, churches and sports clubs published, it will make intriguing reading.

However, it may not be able to shed any further light on the rationale for leaving out cost controls, the crucial issue at the heart of this scandal which rocked Stormont.

As the body representing 500 claimants points out, the list provides no evidence whatsoever of wrongdoing and those arguments about legality and legitimacy may prove sound.

However, the list sets out in stark detail how large numbers of companies have been able to operate multiple boilers at huge cost to the public purse and the public is entitled to know how this money is being spent.

The forthcoming public inquiry needs to be comprehensive in shedding light on how the scheme functioned and who in the political sphere, and in other sectors, knew about the RHI's largess.

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