Northern Ireland news

Details of the second email from a whistleblower concerned about RHI scheme are made known

Details purportedly from a second email sent to then economy minister Arlene Foster have emerged

DETAILS have emerged of a second email from a whistleblower which was produced to members of Stormont's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in closed session last week 

As reported by the Irish News last Thursday, a whistleblower contacted the then economy minister Arlene Foster on her personal email eight days after her initial contact with the department and this correspondence from September 2013 was shown to the PAC.

Extracts purportedly from the email were made know by the BBC's Nolan Show this morning.

The email read: "Given the benefits of RHI we find that many of our potential customers are no longer worried about becoming more efficient.

"In fact it pays them to use as much as they can. The incentive to use more is leading to misuse in some cases.

"I firmly believe that energy efficiency and sustainability should go hand (in hand) and I'd really appreciate 20-30 minutes if your time to see what you think." 

In response the DUP said there is "clearly some confusion" in relation to the emails from the whistleblower and that First Minister Arlene Foster's office "has no record" of the second email. 

 

"The first minister has no formal record of any emails from this period as her records do not go back this far.

The first minister initially indicated to Spotlight that she had passed on an email in relation to RHI to her departmental officials.

"Subsequently the first minister was shown the email of 26 August 2013 from the person in question which was published last week. That email had been passed to officials and the ninister had then replied to the person in question on 5 September 2013 offering a meeting with officials.

"Before the email of the 26th August was published the person who had sent the email was contacted by an official in the Department of the Economy who confirmed that the 26th August email had been the only direct contact with Arlene Foster, and the official’s understanding was that she was content to release that email subject to redactions.

"We apologise if there was any misunderstanding, as we certainly would not have released the email had we thought that would be against her wishes.

"However, we understand that another email has come to light dated September 30 which makes a reference to concerns about the RHI.

"The first minister’s office has no record of this email, but equally no reason to believe that it was not sent or received.

"In any event the person in question contacted officials two days later on 5 September 2013 (in immediate response to the letter from the minister) in order to set up a meeting at which her plans and concerns were discussed.

"We understand that at this meeting she also raised concerns about the RHI but, very unfortunately, these concerns were not taken sufficiently seriously. At all times Mrs Foster sought to follow the appropriate processes in relation to this issue."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news