DUP still no clearer on plans for RHI public inquiry

Arlene Foster has yet to reveal party plans on a public inquiry into the RHI scandal. On Tuesday she told the media she hoped the process of getting the inquiry underway could start by the end of the week. Picture by Mal McCann.
Gareth McKeown

DUP leader Arlene Foster has still to reveal her party's proposals for the holding of a public inquiry into the botched Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

In a u-turn on Monday, hours before Martin McGuinness announced his resignation as deputy first minister, Ms Foster said she could accept a public inquiry into RHI.

The following day, the former first minister called for an investigation to be set up under the 2005 Inquiries Act.

Ms Foster said she hoped the process of getting the inquiry underway could start by the end of the week.

"I intend to ask for an investigation, on the basis of the terms of reference discussed as part of our discussions with Sinn Féin, to be set up under the Inquiries Act 2005," she said.

"I am determined that the public will get the facts in an independent and impartial way free from party political demands and bias.

"I want to see an investigation commenced quickly so that it will be independently demonstrated that I did nothing wrong and that my integrity is vindicated," she added.

The party previously stated its opposition to a public inquiry as early as December 18 last year when a spokesman said they wanted "an independent investigation". On December 19, Edwin Poots was emphatic on the issue in the assembly when he said: "Get the message in relation to the reviews of this: there will not be a public inquiry."

Last week, DUP members of Belfast City Council voted against holding a public inquiry when the motion was brought by Ruth Patterson. The motion from the former DUP councillor was passed by 23 votes to 12.

When asked by the Irish News yesterday for an update on the DUP proposals for a public inquiry, the party did not issue a response.

When asked for an interview with the party leader a spokesman said this would not be possible.

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