Adams puts RHI cost at £5 billion

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams overstated the cost of the botched RHI scheme by 10 times during an interview with RTE Radio One.

Mr Adams said the cost to the taxpayer was “five billion, I believe” in what his party described as “clearly an error”.

The most widely used estimated potential cost to the taxpayer of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme is closer to £500 million, a 10th of the figure quoted by the Sinn Féin president.

He made the comments in response to a question on whether Sinn Fein do not want the DUP’s Arlene Foster as first minister in a new Stormont executive.

Mr Adams said: “We have never said that. We have said that until the scandal of the billions that went aside, five billion, I believe, potentially in taxpayers’ money that went down the drain without any explanation whatsoever, that up until that is cleared up that she should stand to one side.

“But we have not said she should not be the first minister - if that is cleared up and the DUP wish to put her forward that isn’t an issue for us.”

A spokesperson for Sinn Féin told the News Letter: “Clearly the figure quoted is an error. The potential loss to the taxpayer in the North is almost £500 million and that figure has been in the public domain for quite some time.”