O’Neill has serious questions to answer, says Ford

Alliance Agriculture spokesperson David Ford has said Michelle O’Neill has serious questions to answer, after it was revealed her former Department ran dozens of workshops to promote the controversial RHI scheme.

Documents show 58 seminars organised by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) told potential participants of the benefits of the scheme as late as October 2015, the noted ‘spike’ period of applications.

Mr Ford said the revelation called into question Sinn Fein’s knowledge of the RHI scheme.

“This situation does not look good for either the Department or Michelle O’Neill as Minister at the time. A serious question has been raised by this revelation – namely, when did she and her Department become aware of the serious problems within the RHI scheme?

“While on the surface it may well be as simple as a Government Minister promoting a scheme from another Department, the critical issue is what Michelle O’Neill knew and when, if her Department was alerted to the flaws, and whether she knew about those flaws when the Economy Minister closed the scheme, claiming it was a victim of its own success.

“Any independent investigation into RHI needs to look at all involved, so the full facts can be established. Until they are, these questions will remain.”

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