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Good evening and welcome to BBC Newsline.
advisor is stepping aside from any future involvement in the flawed
renewable heating scheme after failing to declare
John Robinson's father in law receives payment from the RHI
Our Political Correspondent Enda McClafferty has the latest.
Charles Robinson is a key member of the DUP backroom team. First as
director of communications, and the advisers of the economy minister.
The former minister Jonathan Bale accused him of interfering in the
RNA scheme. He said he had no link whatsoever to the scheme. He was
questioned by the press Association, that his father is nor as a
recipient of the scheme. The DUP declared that John Robertson failed
to declare that. He said he regretted this situation has
developed, whereby there is a perception of conflict. It is
because of that that he's stand by. The
A senior civil servant says he believes a former special adviser
to Arlene Foster exerted influence in relation to the RHI scheme.
Dr Andrew McCormick told Stormont's public accounts committee
that he understood the adviser had influenced a decision
Naming the advisor as Andrew Crawford, he also told the committee
that he had no direct evidence of this.
Dr McCormick, a departmental Permanent Secretary,
also said that leaked insider information may have had
a significant impact on the ?490m overspend.
Our Agriculture Correspondent, Conor Macauley, watched
he acknowledged it himself. There was
huge interest. There is more interest in this session than
September. He is the senior civil servant in the Department of economy
charged with clearing up the R.N. I mess. He said one of the special
advisers were putting pressure on the scheme to remain open, even as
accusations are flooding in, and there was pressure to shouted down.
There was suggestions that the date originally suggested should be
extended. We were going through the discussions in the summer of 2015. I
was never clear exactly who was involved, the person we were dealing
with was in the DTI, Timothy Cairns. He was making it
clear it was not his idea. That led to an obvious question from the
public accounts committee. Whose idea was it? The understanding I
expressed to minister Hamilton, and his adviser in recent times, Mike
understanding was that Andrew Crawford had been exerting that
influence. He was at pains to say he had no direct evidence of that
pressure. In the summer 2015, Andrew Foster was Arlene Foster's man
injured apartment. At one point in the proceedings Arlene Foster's name
came up. Having considered the material, have you seen any evidence
of wrongdoing by the First Minister, the former First Minister? No.
Absolutely none. Mr MacCormack was only getting started in a session
where he was confirming he was permitted to speak freely. He said
there was a perfect storm of circumstances leading to the
overspend. The failure of understanding of the lucrative
subsidy. The industry did understand. 50, two 100 installers
or individuals were spreading the word. Then this bombshell. Around
the period July, there is evidence of some premature information being
made available to the industry. Some documents appeared with me after
Christmas, this needs further investigation, I would prefer to say
not too much about this, not to prejudice the investigation. It is
quite serious. There was potential for the tariff to be reduced. The
message went within the sector, get in quick. Suggestions it has come
from within your department? Yes. It suggests there was some information
being shared prematurely with the industry from departmental
officials. Further revelations about the contact with police on
allegations of abuse. And Jonathan Bale may have been recorded without
his knowledge or consent. It seems the drip feed of revelations about
the scheme has finally turned into a torrent.
In a statement issued earlier, Andrew Crawford confirmed that
during the summer of 2015 he had spoken to his fellow special
adviser in the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment
He said he would have been offering informal advice
and assistance to a colleague - and was not speaking
on behalf of the then Finance Minister Arlene Foster.
He repeated that he had not sought to keep the scheme open
against the wishes of the DETI minister Jonathan Bell -
and had advised that changes to the tariff take effect
The police say a viable device has been found during a security
in the Fairmount Park area were evacuated during the incident
but residents have since been allowed to return home.
The device has been taken away for further examination.
The Unite trade union says about half of the workers have been
made redundant at the troubled Shivo factory in Londonderry.
The aerospace engineering firm went into administration a fortnight ago.
staff are employed at the engineering plant. They arrive to be
told the news they feared. Around 30 people were made redundant
yesterday, more bad news followed today for other employees. Happy I
got this far. I got my life at this place. Finished now, not too
bothered. Disheartened for the younger workers. Yes, my son was
working here, made redundant yesterday. Two people in one house.
They make parts for the aircraft industry, the plant was bought about
18 months ago, they had initial plans for expansion. The
administrator was called in two weeks ago after the companies said
they could not turn the business around. Business leaders have called
the news is devastating, another massive blow to manufacturing in the
Northwest. Armagh beat county down by two
points. Now here's Angie Philips
with the weather forecast. Fairly quite unsettled at the
moment. Going to stay that way into the region. High-pressure giving us
a lot of dry weather. Road spells, generally a lot of cloud, it will
become a little cooler as well. Mild night to come, overcast skies. Some
list and hill fog squeezing out the odd spot of drizzle. Dry, with lows
of 6-7 . Tomorrow, quite a lot of cloud. A lot of dry weather as well.
The odd spot of drizzle over the hills thirsting in the morning.
Other than that, driving slowly. Elsewhere across the country, a fair
amount of cloud, misty at murky conditions across central parts.
Drizzly rain, a breeze across the northern Scotland. Their sunshine
for the north-east of Scotland and the South of England. A chilly day
after a frosty start again. Brightening up towards the west of
Ireland as we head through the day. Later in the afternoon, the odd
bright spell developing in parts of the West, parts of County Fermanagh.
Certainly not guarantee. Average temperatures of 8-9 . High-pressure
is in charge heading towards the weekend. Trading fair enough the
continent, they're in mind, that is pretty cold. Looking at the really
cold air, temperatures coming down. The odd bright spell, Friday the
brightest day. Flaherty, mainly dry.