Alliance will continue to support need for independent, judge-led inquiry into RHI, says Long

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said her party will continue to support the need for an independent, judge-led public inquiry into the RHI scandal, despite the Executive parties’ reluctance.

Mrs Long was speaking after the DUP and Sinn Fein said such a move could take “years”, while Sinn Fein’s national chairperson Declan Kearney has also called for an “independent investigation”.

“Common sense says the resources used to find the truth are the same in terms of time, cost, scope and other factors whether an investigation or inquiry, therefore the argument an inquiry would take longer and cost more to do the same job is either nonsense or an admission by Sinn Fein their proposed investigation would be less thorough,” said Mrs Long.

“The Attorney General, who is appointed by the Executive Office, cannot appoint judges, who are senior to him. The correct mechanism would be for the Lord Chief Justice to advise the First Minister and deputy First Minister on which judge to appoint.

“Alliance has consistently argued for an independent, judge-led inquiry, which would have the required powers to complete the work. The time for he said, she said, has passed. We need the facts and at this point, the only mechanism which can provide that is a public inquiry under the Inquiries Act.

“This crisis can only be addressed by complete openness and transparency. Anything short of this would raise a number of questions and give the perception of something being hidden.”

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