Northern Ireland

RHI inquiry: Foster to give second day of evidence

Arlene Foster
Image caption The DUP leader and former first minister made her first appearance in front of the inquiry on Thursday afternoon

The former first minister Arlene Foster is due to give evidence to the inquiry into the renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme for a second day.

The DUP leader told the inquiry on Thursday that she does not think she bears personal responsibility for the collapse of the scheme.

She was Stormont's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) minister when it set up RHI in 2012.

In her role, she signed off on the project.

Mrs Foster also said that she was glad to have the opportunity to counter what she called "malevolent and misinformed" commentary, adding that the fallout from it was a matter of "deep regret for me politically and personally".

The RHI public inquiry into the flawed green energy scheme is being chaired by Sir Patrick Coghlin.

The scheme subsidised the cost of fuel to encourage the use of renewable heating systems.

But the fuel cost far less than the subsidy users were receiving, meaning they could earn by burning more fuel.

When the scale of the scandal emerged in December 2016, there were widespread calls for Mrs Foster to resign to allow an investigation to be carried out into what went wrong.

Image caption Overly-generous subsidies meant the costs of the scheme spiralled out of control

She refused, and the Northern Ireland Executive - a coalition between her party, the DUP, and Sinn Féin - collapsed.

Mrs Foster has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to the scheme

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