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Fermanagh & South Tyrone Sinn Féin MLA's Lynch & Gildernew call for Foster to step aside to allow full investigation into RHI Scheme

Published: 20 December, 2016

Sinn Féin MLAs Sean Lynch and Michelle Gildernew have spoken of the need for the First Minister Arlene Foster to step aside to allow the investigation into the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme, which has caused major controversy over recent weeks and is likely to cost the tax payers of the six counties over £400 million.

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Speaking from Stormont, Sean Lynch said:

"The Renewable Heating Initiative Scheme was established by Arlene Foster while she was the Minister of Department Enterprise Trade and Industry in November 2012.

"In April 2013 the British government introduced tariffs that would be adjusted in line with demand thus ensuring that there would be no overspend. However, this precaution was not taken in the north.

"In recent weeks it has emerged that the Executive could be paying up to £400 million over the next 20 years for a scheme that is not delivering.

"Sinn Féin tabled a comprehensive amendment to the Assembly yesterday to get to the truth of the RHI scandal and to call on the First Minister to step aside during that process. This amendment was blocked by the DUP speaker.

"We will now bring forward that amendment as a motion to the Assembly at the first opportunity in January.

Continuing, Michelle Gildernew added,

"A full independent investigation needs to be held into the design, operation and abuse of the RHI scheme. All of the facts need to be established, the public needs to know who benefited from this.

"The First Minister should therefore stand aside to allow the investigation to happen; and urgent measures are needed to limit the damage to public finances and the tax payers.

"Our consistent aim in this crisis has been to restore public confidence in the institutions, to hold the DUP to account and to make the institutions deliver in the way intended." - Ends/Críoch