Author

RHI inquiry: Foster ‘did not pass on key costs warning’

Arlene Foster appears to never have forwarded to her officials a key email which warned her personally that the RHI scheme was being abused just 10 months after the scheme began, the public inquiry into the scandal has been told.

News
Arlene Foster was told of RHI fears 10 weeks into scheme

Arlene Foster was told of RHI fears 10 weeks into scheme

Arlene Foster, her special adviser and her officials were explicitly warned that the RHI scheme contained a “perverse incentive” just 10 weeks into the scheme, it has been revealed.

News
Three months ago Arlene Foster said that the DUP was not proposing a statute of limitations

DUP MPs press ahead with soldier amnesty, despite Foster’s concerns

The DUP’s MPs are continuing to support a de facto amnesty for security force members involved in the Troubles, despite concerns – including from their leader, Arlene Foster – that such a move could lead to a general amnesty which extends to terrorists.

News
Catherine McArthur giving evidence to the RHI inquiry on Tuesday

RHI inquiry: pressure to open scheme quickly came from ‘high up’

Two people who worked closely on the design of the RHI scheme have said they believe civil servants were under pressure from someone higher up in Arlene Foster’s department to get the scheme opened quickly even though they knew it was flawed.

News
RHI economist missed huge false economy

RHI economist missed huge false economy

A civil service economist who signed off on the RHI scheme as value for money has said that it never crossed his mind that the department was engaging in a vast false economy, based on the figures presented to him.

News
Arlene Foster was given ‘untrue’ RHI advice

Arlene Foster was given ‘untrue’ RHI advice

An official involved in the design of the RHI scheme has accepted that Arlene Foster made the decision to press ahead with the scheme based on “untrue” information put before her by officials.

News
Kilroot Power Station

Power security fears as Kilroot to shut in May

Profound questions about the security of Northern Ireland’s electricity supply were raised last night with the sudden announcement that the owners of Kilroot power station plan to close most of it in four months’ time, and begin closing parts of Ballylumford.

News
Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service David Sterling.

Photo by Matt Mackey / Presseye

Mandarin seems to back direct rule if talks fail

The head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service – the man who is running public services in the Province in the absence of ministers – has said that there is an urgent need for “ministerial intervention” if the Stormont talks fail, something which would have to involve a form of direct rule.

News
Sue Gray, appearing before the Public Administration Select Committee, in 2012. Credit: BBC

Powerful and secretive Whitehall official moves into Stormont role

As the DUP and Sinn Féin re-entered talks yesterday, two significant developments added to the sense that steps are being taken to prepare for the possibility of direct rule if Stormont cannot be restored.

News
The rainbow flag flying at Stormont House in Belfast to mark the city's Pride Festival on August 4, 2017

NIO recruiting for same-sex marriage and abortion post

The NIO is recruiting a senior official to deal with two policy areas which under devolution are not its responsibility – gay marriage and abortion, the News Letter can reveal.

News
The late Martin McGuinness, Michelle ONeill and Arlene Foster pictured with Prof Rafael Bengoa who told them of the need for fundamental health reform

Even a £150m cash injection would see NI’s hospital crisis deepening

Spiralling hospital waiting lists in Northern Ireland will continue to deteriorate even if a huge cash injection of £150m can be found for the next financial year, health service sources have warned.

News
Gina Miller has been a vocal opponent of the UK leaving the European Union and took the government to court

DUP dismisses threat of legal action on Tory deal £1bn

The DUP has defended the process behind the payment of the £1 billion it secured from the Tories after anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller threatened to go to court about the News Letter’s revelation that some of the money is being spent without Parliamentary authorisation.

News
David Sterling after signing the agreement. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Presseye

Sam McBride: In limbo, mandarins are not clear on obscure law

Just over a month ago, a line buried in a civil service press release announced that Stormont Castle had signed Memoranda of Understanding with two Chinese provinces establishing a “friendship province relationship” with each.

News
Prime Minister Theresa May stands with First Secretary of State Damian Green (right), DUP leader Arlene Foster (second left), DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds (left), as DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (third right) shakes hands with Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, and Chief Whip, Gavin Williamson, inside 10 Downing Street, London, after the DUP agreed a deal to support the minority Conservative government in June

DUP £1 billion being spent before it has been authorised by Parliament

Stormont is already spending the first part of the £1 billion secured by the DUP as part of its deal with the Tories –T despite the fact that Parliament has not authorised the spending, as the Government said would be necessary.

News
Sinn Feins Northern Ireland leader Michelle ONeill at Stormont yesterday

Sam McBride: an apparent, if modest, climb down by Sinn Fein

On looking at the facts, it is difficult to read what happened yesterday other than as a modest climb-down by Sinn Fein.

News
Karen Bradley speaking to journalists in Stormont House yesterday

Secretary of State Karen Bradley retracts claim about DUP’s £1bn deal

New Secretary of State Karen Bradley has wrongly claimed that the £1 billion secured by the DUP could not be spent until ministers are in place in Belfast – but rapidly clarified her own remarks after the DUP said that she was incorrect.

News
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley and Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney speaking to the media at Stormont in Belfast where they announced fresh round of political talks

New secretary of state sets new talks deadline

Just 10 days into her new role, new Secretary of State Karen Bradley has called a new brief round of all-party talks with a “last” deadline for the restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland.

News
DETI ignored lawyer’s blunt warning on lack of any RHI cost controls

DETI ignored lawyer’s blunt warning on lack of any RHI cost controls

A specialist lawyer who long before the RHI scheme was launched “hammered home” to Arlene Foster’s officials the need to delay the launch to include cost controls, has said that their minds appeared to be made up to press ahead regardless.

News
Patsy McGlone, the former chairman of Stormont's Enterprise Trade and Investment (ETI) Committee - which was tasked with scrutinising proposed legislation for the RHI scheme - said government officials never advised members about the less costly option.

RHI inquiry: key details on scheme not given to committee, says MLA

The former chairman of the Assembly committee which scrutinised the RHI scheme regulations before they became law has told of his anger at now realising that significant information which could have alerted the MLAs to the scheme’s flaws was never shown to them.

News
Martin McGuinness being driven away from Stormont on the night he resigned a year ago

Sam McBride: toppling Stormont was easy; not so its return

The moment a gaunt – and we now know, dying – Martin McGuinness announced a year ago that he was collapsing devolution in Northern Ireland, it was clear that the decision represented a fundamental shift in the strategy which Sinn Fein had adopted since the IRA gave up its weapons.

News
Load more