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As one Stormont department tried to rein in RHI, another marketed it

The chairman of the public inquiry into the RHI scandal has expressed surprise that officials in one Stormont department were promoting the disastrous scheme months after officials in another Stormont department had started trying to rein it in.

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Image taken from the House of Commons, November 14, 2017, showing a James Brokenshire addressing the DUP faction in a sparsely-populated debating chamber

Westminster moves to pass Stormont budget but insists it is not the end of devolution

In a deeply symbolic act of direct rule, the Government last night brought before the House of Commons a budget for Stormont – but insisted that it should not be seen as a move towards the end of devolution in Northern Ireland.

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Arlene Foster

Foster’s officials ‘were warned of key RHI flaw’

Five months before the RHI scheme began, experts warned Arlene Foster’s department to delay the launch so that cost controls could be included – but officials said that the DUP minister was determined to press ahead with the scheme, the public inquiry into the scandal has been told.

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RHI

RHI law drafted before policy even decided

Officials in Arlene Foster’s department took the “strange” decision to commission a legal firm to draft the text of the RHI regulations more than a year before the department had even formally decided that there should be an RHI scheme, the inquiry was told.

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Existence of third whistleblower who came to Sinn Féin revealed

An employee of Ofgem, which runs the RHI scheme on behalf of Stormont, came forward as a whistleblower at the start of this year, it has emerged.

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Arlene Foster

Foster made key early RHI decision personally, papers reveal

Officials made no recommendation to Arlene Foster about a key early decision to create the RHI scheme, meaning that Mrs Foster appears to have made the decision herself, it emerged yesterday.

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The Independent Public Inquiry into the Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme pictured in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Forensic work to examine devices revealed at first day of RHI inquiry

A massive trawl for evidence about the RHI scandal has involved the forensic examination of electronic devices and has uncovered text messages between senior government figures.

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DUP members pictured outside one of the partys South Antrim constituency offices

DUP MLAs ‘spend the most time on constituency work’

New academic research shows that MLAs claim to spend, on average, 28 working hours a week on constituency business – yet they continue to be paid their full salaries as if they were also working as legislators.

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Gerry Adams has been at the helm of Sinn Fein for 34 years

Gerry Adams: My abortion view different to Sinn Fein’s

Gerry Adams has said that he is personally in favour of women being able to have abortions – putting him at odds with long-standing Sinn Fein policy.

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4/5/2014 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Gerry Adams speaking to the media on being released this evening from Antrim police station this afternoon  after being questioned in relation to the murder of Jean McConville. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
MAGAZINE END OF YEAR PICTURES - FREELANCE

SF fails to set out alternative to prevent public sector implosion

Despite opposing an emergency direct rule budget at Stormont, Sinn Féin has failed to propose any alternative which will stop public sector workers being laid off before Christmas if their talks with the DUP fail.

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Sam McBride: Direct rule a risk for Sinn Féin...for now

Sam McBride: Direct rule a risk for Sinn Féin...for now

On the face of it, the DUP is relaxed about the prospect of direct rule, to the point that it is now almost calling for the installation of Westminster ministers to run Stormont departments.

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Secretary of State James Brokenshire.
Picture By; Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

NIO: There will be no consultation on direct rule budget

There will be no public consultation on the Stormont budget of more than £10 billion, the NIO has said.

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For the vast majority of this year, Stormont has not been the seat of government

New Stormont battle as DUP calls for imminent move to direct rule

Northern Ireland is very close to requiring full direct rule – involving Westminster ministers running Stormont departments – the DUP has said.

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RHI inquiry chairman Sir Patrick Coghlin and members of his team at a preliminary hearing in September. Picture: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

After amassing one million pages, RHI inquiry to begin

The public inquiry into the RHI scandal has set out details of when its first witnesses will give evidence in public.

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Arlene Foster and Judith Thompson with members of the victims' forum yesterday

Arlene Foster ‘won’t stand in way of Troubles legacy inquests’

Arlene Foster will not attempt to stand in the way of funding for Troubles’ inquests, the victims’ commissioner has said after a meeting with the DUP leader yesterday.

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Owen Smith said pay cuts would undermine the ability of the parties to negotiate

Don’t cut MLA pay, says Labour

Labour has urged the secretary of state not to cut MLAs’ pay, despite the continuing impasse at Stormont.

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James Brokenshire speaking outside Stormont House yesterday. 
Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Brokenshire sets new deadline, threatening direct rule budget

Secretary of State James Brokenshire yesterday responded to the DUP and Sinn Féin missing his latest ‘deadline’ by effectively setting a new one.

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Westminster would be stepping in because of chronic failure by Stormont. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Sam McBride: Westminster passing Stormont’s budget will be direct rule in all but name

The Secretary of State expended some energy yesterday attempting to convince us that Westminster passing a direct rule budget should not be seen as a return to direct rule of Northern Ireland.

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Sinn Fein supporters could face daily visual reminders of a U-turn if Michelle ONeill returned to Stormont Castle with Arlene Foster

Sam McBride: Sudden DUP and SF U-turns could lead to a Stormont built on sand

In an attempt to outmanoeuvre its main political rival, Sinn Fein yesterday appeared to publicly give away two significant concessions in a talks process which has been shrouded in secrecy.

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Flanked by party colleagues, Sinn Feins Conor Murphy speaks to the media in Stormonts Great  Hall yesterday. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Two days after Brokenshire’s final ‘deadline’ DUP-SF talks still ongoing

Monday night’s supposed deadline for a DUP-Sinn Féin deal long forgotten, the two parties talked throughout yesterday before finishing for the night before 8pm, with plans to restart discussions today.

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