Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:-
“Having had it confirmed that while a DUP Special Adviser Stephen Brimstone was also a beneficiary of the lucrative Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, I feel entitled to ask if he was the only DUP and Government insider seeking to take advantage of the scheme? It is not suggested such would be unlawful, but, nonetheless, if insiders were seeking to avail of the scheme, before it was capped, it adds a new dimension.
“Given the public dismay over the handing of this scheme it is now very much in the public interest that all beneficiaries are identified. The public money paid to individual local farmers and lawyers is published every year, so there is no sustainable basis upon which this RHI information is being withheld. Political embarrassment is not an adequate reason. Has the DUP got something to hide? In Saturday’s News Letter the DUP in a deceptive choice of words stated “none of the special advisors employed by our ministers are applicants to the scheme and for the avoidance of doubt are not benefiting in any way from this scheme.” Today the First Minister has to admit one of her Spads was indeed a beneficiary. Who else?
“In her media comments today Arlene Foster failed to deal adequately with her triple failure as DETI minister:-
- How she came to sign off a scheme which removed the cost controls, by way of tiered payments, applicable in the GB scheme, thus, exposing Northern Ireland to the £400m squander.
- How as minister she failed to ensure, as required, that the Scheme was referred to DFP in April 2015 for re-approval, thus missing the opportunity to correct its squander.
- How as minister she failed to follow up on the 2013 whistleblower’s allegations.
“It is clear the First Minister is desperate to spread the blame, but as DETI minister the buck stops with her. This was Squander made in Stormont over which she presided.”