Northern Ireland news

Arlene Foster admits she may be 'wrong about the sequencing' of claims against Spad ahead of TV interview

DUP leader Arlene Foster has given a further statement to the RHI Inquiry. Picture by Hugh Russell

ARLENE Foster has said it's "possible" that she was wrong when she claimed in a television interview not to know why a reduction in the RHI tariff had been delayed given that her advisers were aware of the reason.

The RHI inquiry has further quizzed the DUP leader about her interview with Stephen Nolan in December 2016 when she said she had "no idea" why the curbs on subsidies were delayed.

Senior civil servant Andrew McCormick told the inquiry in September how he was "very surprised" by Mrs Foster's response.

The former Department for the Economy permanent secretary says in the days ahead of the interview he had made Mrs Foster aware that her former special adviser Andrew Crawford was the "instigator of the delay".

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Asked by the inquiry if she knew of what the Mr McCormick told her about Mr Crawford before the interview, the former first minster admits she could be "wrong about the sequencing".

Arlene Foster told Political Correspondent John Manley in 2016 that she should not be expected to see every "jot and tittle" that goes on in every department

She says she was aware of the allegations against Mr Crawford but believes supporting evidence was "insufficient".

"I did have no idea as to the facts of what took place and therefore I do not believe that my reply to Mr Nolan was contrary to the principle of openness within the seven principles of public life," she says in statement released by the RHI inquiry last night.

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