Northern Ireland’s first minister has survived an effort to unseat her in a growing political scandal over a botched renewable energy scheme that could cost the province’s taxpayers at least £400m. Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist party who became Northern Ireland’s first female first minister a year ago, offered a qualified apology for her role in introducing the renewable heating incentive. But she accused her opponents of trying to lead her to the “political gallows” over her role in the affair, which has been dubbed “cash for ash”. Ms Foster admitted that the renewables scheme, or RHI, which was meant to be a modest step to encourage Northern Ireland’s businesses to switch to renewable energy sources, contained “fundamental flaws”. Critics say it was so poorly designed that its costs quickly ballooned out of control.
FT 19th Dec 2016 read more »