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SDLP in denial on their support for RHI – O’Dowd

16 February, 2017 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd said today that the SDLP are in denial about their support to keep the botched RHI scheme open.  

Mr O'Dowd said:

“The SDLP needs to come clean and acknowledge that they knew that the RHI scheme had spiralled out of control before they voted to retain it.

“Their colleague Patsy McGlone was briefed in the Enterprise Trade and Investment committee on February 9th 2016 by Andrew McCormick ‘that the financial problem was in the region of £30 million and that the overspend would lead to a reduction in services, that other things would have to be cut to deliver a balanced budget’.

“That meeting of the ETI committee was held a full week before Sinn Féin voted to close the scheme down while the SDLP, the UUP and others voted to keep it open. 

“The SDLP need to tell the public why given that they were briefed on the potential impact to the public purse of the RHI scheme did they vote to keep it open.

"The SDLP appear to be as much in denial about the failed RHI scheme as Arlene Foster." ENDS/CRÍOCH

Notes for editors

Link to ETI committee meeting of 9 February 2016

Also contained in Andrew McCormick’s briefing to the ETI committee were

•    Projected costs of £30 million for 2015-16 & £45 million for 2016-17 clearly stated, gap in 2016-17 after AME estimated £27-33 million; 

•    Scheme needed closed immediately to prevent overspend becoming worse or another spike;

•    No consultation on closure as there is a need to stem flow of uncovered expenditure - alternative to legislating on closure would be Assembly continuing with uncovered expenditure & cut other things as need to balance budget.

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