RHI scandal: Foster ‘doesn’t recall’ meeting whistleblower

Arlene Foster received the email from the whistleblower in 2013

Arlene Foster received the email from the whistleblower in 2013

There are suggestions that the RHI ‘whistleblower’ personally spoke to Arlene Foster about her concerns as well as emailing her – but Mrs Foster has said that she has no memory of such a meeting.

The individual, who has described herself as a “concerned citizen” who saw that the scheme was being abused from quite early on after it was introduced in 2012, had emailed Mrs Foster to her personal email account to raise her concerns.

That 2013 email – which came after the DUP had said that there was no such email – emerged on the Nolan Show on Monday.

In response to it, the DUP said that “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’s office has no record of this email, but equally no reason to believe that it was not sent or received”.

Now, suggestions that the individual communicated her concerns to Mrs Foster in person have emerged.

When asked if Mrs Foster had ever met the individual and heard her allegations in person, a DUP spokesman said: “Mrs Foster does not have any recollection of meeting the individual in question.

“However, we understand that reference may have been made within emails to department officials to the individual having spoken to Mrs Foster.

“We have no record of this and we were informed by the department that the individual concerned had indicated previously to a departmental official that the only contact with Mrs Foster was through email.

“In the process of locating the initial email and follow-up correspondence with the department no record of a meeting with the minister was found.”

Last week, prior to the email to Mrs Foster’s personal email address emerging, DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said: “In fact the 2013 email from the lady in question raised no concerns about RHI.

“It simply asked for a meeting on energy efficiency matters. A meeting with officials was facilitated and it was in these subsequent discussions that issues about RHI were conveyed.

“Mrs Foster did not attend these meetings or hear of the concerns. The initial email was the only contact with the minister.”