One very specific question about the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal stands out for me above all others.
When exactly did the Executive start trying to find ways to limit the cost over the next 20 years?
There is an obvious problem about the Economy Minister’s sudden interest in the issue (as opposed to trying in effect to bribe airlines to fly from Belfast to New York with our money) and the Finance Minister’s sudden interest in being as his desk (as opposed to in the United States, perhaps using the aforementioned route). It appears they only became interested in saving some of the £485-£600m (they do not even agree the sum) within the past month, despite having been in office for fully six months beforehand.
There is no public evidence whatsoever that the Executive – the First Minister, Finance Minister or Economy Minister – were going to do a thing to restrict the cost to us of the Renewable Heat Incentive failings until within the past month. This is despite the fact they clearly each knew about it.
Why their sudden interest, now, in actually doing something? The BBC Spotlight documentary which uncovered the scale of the problem, the definite incompetence and the potential corruption.
Thank goodness for a free, impartial and well resourced media. Without it, the scandal may never have been uncovered and the price would have been paid by each one of us. But we should not forget the other scandal – but for the BBC raising the issue, the current Executive was going to do nothing about it, despite three Ministers knowing all the details.
Yet another reason we should cherish the BBC, but change the Executive…