RHI scandal: Full public inquiry to be called

Mairtin O Muilleoir
Mairtin O Muilleoir

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has moved to institute a public inquiry into the RHI scandal.

The Sinn Féin MLA, whose party has previously called for an ‘investigation’ rather than a full public inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act, said “no other investigation” was now feasible.

Mr Muilleoir said: “Throughout this week I have been continuing to focus on the RHI crisis.

“As part of that work, I have been taking soundings and advice on the need for a no-hiding-place probe into the RHI scandal.

“It is clear that, with time short until the Assembly dissolves, the only way to serve the public interest is for me as Finance Minister to move to institute a public inquiry immediately. No other type of investigation is now feasible given time pressures.

“I have now instructed officials to take the necessary steps to establish a public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the RHI scheme.

“I have received legal advice in regard to these matters. I will make a full statement to the Assembly next week.

“This inquiry will be impartial and objective. I will not interfere in its work. It will be tasked to get to the truth of this issue.

“Under the Inquiries Act, the inquiry report must go to the Finance Minister. I give a commitment that I or any Sinn Féin Minister will release the report in full to the public on receipt.

“I call on all parties to sign up to unrestricted, unedited publication.

“I am aware that the RHI issue goes beyond financial matters to questions of governance and probity. By getting to the truth of the RHI scandal, this inquiry report will, I believe, address those wider issues, and, therefore, put the public first.”