Northern Ireland news

RHI inquiry: What is it about Jamie Bryson?

DUP leader Arlene Foster, and loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson
Brendan Hughes

THE RHI inquiry chairman asked "what is it about Mr Bryson" after hearing a Stormont special adviser forwarded a blog post by the high-profile loyalist directly to Arlene Foster.

Sir Patrick Coghlin questioned why a DUP special adviser was escalating Mr Bryson's blog to Ms Foster but did not discuss with her a spike in RHI applications.

The blog which made made corruption allegations relating to a government wind farm scheme, was raised with Ms Foster the then finance minister, by Andrew Crawford in July 2015. 

Sir Patrick asked: "What is it about whoever Mr Bryson is and his blog that had to go to these dizzy levels of government?"

"If it's unnecessary to open it, don't open it, but I'm just trying to see, all of a sudden when there is this suggestion, whatever it was, we see the finance minister actually involved by these Spads.

"Up until then, she's not. All the discussion about RHI, about spikes, about hours, about impact ... goes nowhere near her. It's all between Spads."

When Arlene Foster's special adviser sent her a link to the online article by Jamie Bryson she replied: "That's not good. Is TJ [ex-DUP special adviser Timothy Johnston] aware?"

Mr Crawford informed Ms Foster he had spoken to Mr Johnston and he was "aware of the blog".

The RHI inquiry also heard: 

- A newly discovered email appeared to contradict an assertion by DUP chief executive Timothy Johnston that he did not seek to delay the introduction of RHI cost controls

A DUP spad told Emma Little-Pengelly he planned to film 'Jonathan Bell drunk and talking sh*t' 

RHI was presented as an 'all-singing, all-dancing future' according to the SDLP's Patsy McGlone

 

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