Buck must stop with First Minister over renewable heat fiasco

On hearing that a senior civil servant has apologised over ‘very serious mistakes’ over a renewable energy scheme which overspent by £30m, Green Party leader Steven Agnew MLA said today, Thursday, 29 September 2016,

“The fiasco that was the renewable heat incentive scheme continues, with the DETI Permanent Secretary having to apologise for the lack of oversight that led to a massive overspend.

“However the buck must stop with First Minister Arlene Foster.

“It was Arlene Foster, who, as Minister for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, announced the scheme in 2012. We were told then that it was a £25 million investment from Westminster. In essence, all the DETI Minister had to do was administer a scheme that had been established and was being funded by the Westminster Government.

“Despite that, we ended up with a £30 million overspend.

“It is clear that the DUP does not support renewable energy, but we must not waste the potential that the renewable energy industry offers to the Northern Ireland economy in terms of job creation and reduction in energy costs.

“I would ask the First Minister to now explain why such a shambles was allowed to happen under her watch. Will she apologise for her failure to ensure that the scheme met its obligations, for the bill that we, as taxpayers must now pay, and that job creation in the renewables sector has been curtailed?”

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