Interesting statement from Jim Wells today. For context, his relatives appear to have been associated with a huge expansion in capacity by Moypark (an economic success story). Moypark had previously announced an expansion of some 400 new chicken houses, most of which you would guess, are taking advantage of the local RHI scheme just as their growers in Britain still do.
‘Today I received information from a relative which indicated that four members of my family have installed wood pellet boilers under the RHI Scheme’.
‘All of these relatives are farmers who rear chickens for Moy Park Ltd based in Dungannon’.
‘My brother installed one boiler in September/October 2015 to heat his broiler shed. In August 2014 my two cousins and the husband of a third cousin installed a combined total of 8 boilers at three separate farms to heat their sheds’.
‘All of these farmers have been involved in poultry rearing for well over a decade and the wood pellet burners replaced existing heating systems’.
‘ I have no financial interest whatsoever in any of these businesses but I believe that was important that I make this information public as soon as I became aware of it’.
Mr Wells statement is testimony to the fever around this story. The Moypark growers scheme would have been subject to a “fast-track planning approval process, together with DETI and DFP’s Agri-Food Loan Scheme.”
But it should be noted that, in general, the scandal is not likely to extend to farmers who are using the scheme to grow livestock. Since animals cannot take overheating*, the thermostats kick in and the heating shuts down.
Hence the timely warning from the SDLP’s Nichola Mallon that people should be careful in running to hasty conclusions and damaging legitimate businesses.
Now we, finally, have a Public Inquiry on the roll, maybe people will calm down, wait for a fuller report: and prepare for our upcoming election to nowhere other than whence we came…
* See this caveat from Madra Uisce below, and, particularly the point s/he makes about ventilation.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty