As for that RHI overrun, erm, that will be just £2 million per annum thank you very much?

For the record, here’s the NI Audit Office update on the RHI ‘scandal’:

  • Of the 1,687 boilers installed prior to 18 November 2015 and which are currently in payment, 659 (39%) are using the boilers for more than 50% of the available hours in a year i.e. more than 12 hours a day and 7 days a week all year round with an RHI subsidy per boiler in 2016‐17 of at least £28,000. Of these 10 boilers are being used for 90% or more of the available hours with a subsidy per boiler of at least £50,000 in 2016‐17.
  • A new tiered tariff was introduced for applications after 18 November 2015 up to the closure of the scheme with a cap at 400,000 kWh. There is a considerably different pattern of usage in the revised scheme ‐ of the 251 boilers installed and operating under the revised scheme 96% were being used for 30% or less of the hours in a year and only one was used for more than 50% of the hours in a year.
  • The Department has introduced new regulations for 2017‐18 so that the tiered rate and cap on heat output now applies to all users, not just those who applied after 18 November 2015. This is for one year only with the Department intending to consult on the rates to be applied in the future. The new regulations are subject to an ongoing judicial review, which has challenged the ability of the Department to significantly vary the subsidy rates other than in line with inflation.
  • The maximum payment for boilers under the revised scheme is around £19,600 (for a typical 199kW boiler) compared to around £56,370 (for the typical 99 kW boiler) under the previous regulations. Under these new regulations, the Department estimated the cost of the scheme in 2017‐18 will be £24 million compared to £52 million had the old regulations continued to stand. The cost to the NI budget in 2017‐18 is also projected to reduce to £2 million compared to around £30 million had the old rates continued to stand.

Now, if there is a legal challenge, these estimates will be out. That said, and given the transparent change in behaviour the tiering system has brought in, it doesn’t presently seem to be an issue. It still remains a poorly constructed scheme (paying by burn rates, tiered or not, ain’t Green).

But, the 1/2 Billion projected overrun appears now to be more a matter of science fiction than science fact.  Tell me, why have the local parties in Northern Ireland hand back the keys of power to the conservatives again?

,

  • Zeno3

    “The reality is that SF then saw a chance to weaponise this as a trading counter and collapsed the Executive.”

    The reality is that anyone who thinks RHI was the cause of the Assembly collapse is a novice in Northern Ireland politics.
    It served it’s purpose well. The people in the street who don’t know were all outraged. But being outraged here just exposes you as someone who either knows very little about NI Politics or is still pushing the SF line that even SF have stopped pushing.

  • oval

    They certainly pay for high quality advisers with SPADs clearing up to (I think 92K)….whether they receive high quality advice, well that’s another matter.

  • mac tire

    Found that link which mentions Unionists yet?

  • james

    To be fair, you challenged him to provide a link and he provided it….

  • Accountant

    That is exactly my point. I work for one of the Big 4 financial advisers. Between us, we employ about 1,500 public sector advisers/consultants in NI, but less than 10% of their work would be for NI government. They won’t pay for quality financial advice, unlike UK & RoI governments – and then they wonder why they end up with the RHI clusterf***.

  • mac tire

    No, James. I asked him to provide a link mentioning “the Proddies”. He didn’t. In another post he claimed it was all Unionists. I asked him to provide a link for that and he didn’t.
    Apparently Adams mentioned these words but Chris can’t show me where.

  • james

    “I asked him to provide a link mentioning “the Proddies”. He didn’t. In another post he claimed it was all Unionists. I asked him to provide a link for that and he didn’t.”

    Are you trying to argue the point that Gerry’s spiteful remarks where he refers to ‘breaking’ “these bastards” refers not just to Protestants but to the whole (non-Republican) community?

  • james

    “Give us all a link to a UI promised by 2016.”

    Here’s one:

    http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/mcguinness-predicts-united-ireland-by-2016-121794.html

  • The Irishman

    A prediction isn’t a promise..

  • The Irishman

    Breaking these bastards refers to bigots, its there for you to see.

  • The Irishman

    Ffs Chris jones…. Trojan horse

  • Isambard

    Mick, if you check Hansard you will find that the idea for the amended tariffs was only first mooted in mid to late December by a SPAD from a separate department. It was all a last minute act of desperation.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Isambard, it is clearly operating as, in a significant part of the scheme, a covert farm subsidy! This remains the case even if others were free to enter the scheme and simply because it is not exclusive to farms the manner in which it has been significantly targeted at farmers underlines this.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No, it’s still clearly the case of negligent minister. She had oversight on the work of the civil service. If she was not properly briefed, it was because she was unconcerned to demand a full and proper briefing. As Nevin says elsewhere the whole system operates disfunctionaly and this can only be remedied by its being held to the strict guidelines of how it should operate.

    “Individual ministerial responsibility is a constitutional convention in governments using the Westminster System that a cabinet minister bears the ultimate responsibility for the actions of their ministry or department.”

    “This means that if waste, corruption, or any other misbehaviour is found to have occurred within a ministry, the minister is responsible even if the minister had no knowledge of the actions. A minister is ultimately responsible for all actions by a ministry because, even without knowledge of an infraction by subordinates, the minister approved the hiring and continued employment of those civil servants.”

    Trying to score a SF scalp is an evasion of following the train of culpability through properly, as is trying to argue that Arlene should be let off the hook simply because she can claim that someone else under her blundered. It is her duty to ensure that her department is functioning, and that in its relationship with other departments things are effected properly and anything her name is on is fully functioning. That she did not know what was being done in her name is an admission of guilt in itself.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Obviously you simply do not understand how the Westminster System should work, James.

    “Individual ministerial responsibility is a constitutional convention in governments using the Westminster System that a cabinet minister bears the ultimate responsibility for the actions of their ministry or department.”

    This applies even where It was the remit of the minister responsible to enact a policy which was fit for use. It is not the responsibility of someone heading another ministry to do their work for them. Occasionally there are cross ministerial projects and it is the responsibility of the ministers involved to examine the progress of such projects together. In a proper cabinet system the first minister would be briefed about such things also. But our own FMs have tended to see the role as a presidential role, with the OFMdFM developing a centralised executive role here, where even the dFM can be left out of the loop. As Nevin says elsewhere the whole system operates disfunctionaly and this can only be remedied by its being held to the strict guidelines of how its hold operate. The knee-jerk reflex to play polarised politics with no apparent concern for actual culpabilities is the very bedrock of the systems continuing disfunctionality.

  • chrisjones2

    And what happened the the Minister (renown for his honesty) who was a strong proponent of this sort of greenwashed nonsense. Well, after getting out of gaol:

    “Huhne was appointed Europe manager of Zilkha Biomass Energy [85] The firm makes wood chip pellets in the USA, selling them as green energy around the world ”

    So perhaps it was just his experience in Government that led him into this new exciting industry where pellets from US trees are shipped 5000 miles to fuel EU boilers. Not quite.

    Zilkha “is owned by Selim Zilkha and his son Michael, who was a contemporary of Huhne’s at Westminster School”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Huhne

    Its great to have friends but this whole wood boiler system across the world is an utter con trick to fleece Governments desperate to be seen to be doing something

  • The Irishman

    “I refer back again to the Trojan Horse strategy”

    Ffs Chris jones… Trojan horse

  • chrisjones2

    Gerrys words, speaking of SFs relationship with the DUP

    “”That’s what we need to keep the focus on – that’s the Trojan horse of the entire republican strategy is to reach out to people on the basis of equality.”

    and

    “But what’s the point? The point is to actually break these bastards – that’s the point. And what’s going to break them is equality. That’s what’s going to break them – equality.”
    .
    Do try and keep up

  • chrisjones2

    I didn’t say it was a cause. It was to create a trading counter by alleging Arlene was unfit as FM…a demand that might be negotiated away in return for concessions

  • chrisjones2

    Read the BBC article and listen to the link. It was Gerry talking about SFs relationship with the DUP – you know the party overwhelmingly elected by Unionists. Pressed on why SF should continue he said:

    “But what’s the point? The point is to actually break these bastards – that’s the point. And what’s going to break them is equality. That’s what’s going to break them – equality.”

    and

    “That’s what we need to keep the focus on – that’s the Trojan horse of the entire republican strategy is to reach out to people on the basis of equality.”

    Absolutely clear that the ‘outreach’ was simply a vehicle to break the Unionist bastards

    An awful stupid mistake to admit it. And a philosophy that shows the real intent of him and his party

  • chrisjones2

    “Trying to score a SF scalp is an evasion of following the train of culpability through properly”

    No its not.

    You are arguing that Ministers should behave like lemmings and if one leaps over the financial cliff the other should follow on the basis that she did it first so its her fault not mine.

    Agriculture staff should have realised that crocks of gold at the end of a rainbow are always suspicious and that the absence of controls make its doubly so.

    Did no Agriculture official ask ‘How does this actually work?” After all they were marketing it? What were the Marketing Materials? And why then did Michelle not ask the most basic questions? Or did she? Perhaps the Inquiry will find out

    But the point is again, as you have said:”

    “a minister is expected to resign over any waste or political mess occurring under their remit. In this context not keeping abreast of what others were doing regarding schemes with your ministerial imprint is an act of culpability all in itself, and pleading ignorance of what they ere doing is self-incriminatory”

    I am not trading Michelle off against Arlene. The point is I think both were stitched up by the Civil Service and this was compounded by multiple control failures. I don’t think either should go for that but let us see the whole mess laid out by the Judge.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Chris, you simply do not appear to understand how the “westminster system” operates in practice, as your arguments simply are not taking it into account.

    The Ministry of Agriculture could be expected to trust the strength of a fellow minister’s policy. Its in how tens system functions. You are not expected to be fully cognisant of the work of another department. It is the direct responsibility of each department to ensure that its work is sound. You are perhaps being rather naïve in simplifying this to the level of an “Angry Frank” monologue, Harry Enfield style, and continuing to claim civil service culpability as primary. Any enquiry will work hopefully work down through the particular culpabilities in the case, but the resignation of the minister whose responsibility it actually is to oversee the matter aways comes first. It is not a matter of “lemming” behaviour, but of long accepted structures of accountability upon which the probity of the British system utterly relies. I’d recommend you read and digest the excellent article on Individual Ministerial Responsibility on Wikipedia, where you will find that your argument is riddled with a number of logical fallacies:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_ministerial_responsibility

    Perhaps once you have read this you may realise that it is not some kind of trade off, where I have to accept your arguments. They are simply irrelevant to the issue under consideration.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Nevin, I really don’t know where you are coming from here. Are you suggesting that one of the UK assemblies is not operating under the common standard of the Westminster system? That we are falling short of the standards of the system is one thing, and I’m entirely in agreement with you on this, but to suggest that we alone amongst those countries who have derived democratic assemblies from the regular UK system of democracy are accordingly exempt from the generally accepted rules of Westminster usages is arrant nonsense. We would even be falling short of that great Barad-dûr of our oh so British Unionism, Dublin, which adheres to the common usages of the Westminster System along with the Commonwealth countries.

    My uncle used to joke in the 1950s that NI was the only part of the Empire entirely governed on Stalinist principles of unaccountability, at lest I thought then that he was joking. Perhaps I should think again?

  • Zeno3

    No I know you didn’t. I was talking about those still claiming it was the cause of the collapse.

  • Skibo

    James, I read the post you put up and cannot find any reference to a crisis a day. I was actually impressed with a number of things that GA addressed. SF are not saying there would be a return to violence. He stated there would be dissidents that would try and take advantage if it but that they have little support. He pointed out the main issue of a rowing back of the achievements of the new dispensation that is the GFA leaving openings for the small unrepresentative dissident groups.
    Ian’s comments on a battle a day were from the time that the DUP appointed ministers at the start of Stormont but refused to sit in an executive and I believe none of the Unionists attended the North South bodies even though it was an integral part of the GFA.

  • chrisjones2

    Sorry….I forgot this one! Well it took a whole 30 seconds on Google on a slow connection but here it is ….at the launch of the 2003 election campaign, the late the great Martin McGuinness quoting the even greater Gerry Adams said of a United Ireland

    “”As we develop the north-south implementation bodies and people co-operate and work together, I think people will see more and more the logic of that,” Mr McGuinness said.

    “Certainly it is our view that it can be accomplished over a short period. Gerry Adams has said 2016 and I think that is achievable.”

    A promise from not one but two SF leaders!!!

    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/well-have-a-united-ireland-by-2016-says-mcguinness-25922555.html

  • chrisjones2

    I agree…purely tactical ….like May threatening to walk out of the Brussels negotiations then fluttering her political eyelashes and saying ‘there is a price for me to stay ….my voters demand it’

  • Nevin

    Seaan, I’ve very little experience of the other administrations across these islands so cannot comment. Some featured in the Rathlin ferry contract debacle but we never did uncover the full shenanigans.

    When ministers from all parties feature in the Stormont shortcomings I’ve blogged on and when those with supposed professional expertise, the independent Departmental Board members, are kept in the dark I’d suggest that there are structural problems in our system of governance. Even a casual reading of Private Eye would indicate that there are structural problems elsewhere too.

  • Boyne

    Which he implied were Unionists or by extension Protestants.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Nevin, the Westminster System is a convention for all of our administrations. However, like so much in our unwritten constitution, it is a common practice which is an understood thing. More and more, as the quality of our public life degenerates both here and over the water (oh, and down south) the response of ministers is to claim, as Arlene has done, that it is “nothing to do with me.”

    https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/Nothing%2Bto%2Bdo%2Bwith%2Bme%253F.pdf

    Of course this kind of practice steadily reduces us to the kind of polity which our fathers would have held in derision. Despite disagreements on certain matters, I’m always respectful of what I see in your broader work as a very similar wish for fair and decent government with accountability. For myself, holding our ministers to the proper standards of the Westminister System is very much a baseline on this.

  • Nevin

    What is it about Northern Ireland Governance – The Belfast Deficit that you don’t understand? I may have been a bit of a slow learner in that I didn’t delve deeper before 2012 but you still haven’t got it.

    Sammy Wilson, the Finance minister, had this to say about the role of independent/non-executive members on Departmental Boards at Stormont back in August 2010:

    The primary role of the Independent Board Member is to contribute to the good governance of the organisation. Independent Board Members will offer constructive challenge across the organisation’s business, with a view to ensuring that all aspects of strategy and delivery of policy are scrutinised for effectiveness and efficiency.

    Ministers are supposed to chair these DB meetings; they aren’t even at the table.

  • Nevin

    That is the sort of scenario that is meat and drink to Private Eye!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Nevin, I’m genuinely puzzled about what you are claiming here as some sort of oppositional point to what I’m saying! Of course local practice is incorrect in this matter, thats the point we are both making, but I simply cannot see who what you’ve posted in any way observes Arlene from anything.

  • Nevin

    We’re self-evidently not making the same points.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Technically, its termed “cross-purposes.”

  • james

    Rather a handy fudge that, since all promises are a kind of ‘prediction’ – thus no promise need ever be kept.

    You should go into politics yourself.

  • james

    Uhm…. you’ve asked me this question:

    “Can you refer me to where Sinn Fein said anything about a crisis a day?”

    And I’ve provided you with this link, in which the dear leader Geraldo announces his intention to exploit every possible crisis, even manufacture some of his own, for personal political gain – whatever the cost to society in general:

    https://news.vice.com/artic

    And you cry foul because he doesn’t explicitly say that he will be doing this sort of selfish crap Monday through Friday, and most weekends, too….

  • Reader

    SeaanUiNeill: Chris, you simply do not appear to understand how the “westminster system” operates in practice, as your arguments simply are not taking it into account.
    Seaan, there are 28 references to Westminster on this page so far, most of them originating with you. Newsflash – we don’t operate the Westminster System here. We barely operate the Stormont System.

  • james

    If he was referring simply to bigots, that would include a generous slice of Sinn Fein’s core voter base. Is this a new schism within Republicanism??

  • chrisjones2

    He idid not. The question was why should SF continue to work with THE DUP

    That was the context of his response

    The DUP is the largest party in the Assembly and by far the largest elected to represent Unionists . It was these ‘bastards’ that Gerry wanted to break

    The post hoc revisionism on his behalf simply shows the embarrassment that this exposed the Trojan Horse Strategy – again his words , not my invention

  • chrisjones2

    Whats juvenile about reminding people that this is part of an underlying strategy developed by their leader to undermine the main unionist party . Its “equality” used as a weapon to break them

  • chrisjones2

    Clearly some are hurting at the way Gerry exposed the SF strategy before it got off the ground

  • chrisjones2

    But then many members of SF believe that murdering their fellow citizens was the right thing to do too

  • chrisjones2

    Direct quote from the blessed Gerry

  • Boyne

    Nonsense, it cannot be allowed that the left wings of society can be allowed to insult a vulnerable religious group in NI, your post is disappointing.

  • mac tire

    No, he was asked about bigots. And there are plenty of bigots in the DUP. That was the question. You ignored that part because that question defined who the answer should be about.

    I’ll let you into another secret – everyone there was told the network key for the place they were in so they could tweet, Facebook etc. In fact, the people there were encouraged to do this. This was a public meeting, so how could he have made a mistake when he knew his words could be carried?

    So, tell us, why, if he was talking about all Unionists – why would they be afraid of equality. Let’s take a Catholic Unionist, say. Why would they be afraid or worried about equality? Or a Protestant Unionist. What would they fear from equality?

    Equality is feared by bigots, hence the remark.

  • mac tire

    “It CAN be accomplished” “I THINK that is achievable”.

    Those are aspirations, not predictions.

    A UI by 2016 was not predicted then but hoped for. You seemingly have a problem with comprehension.

    As an example to show the difference – you predicted a 70+ seat majority for the Tories and that Labour would split after the election and form 2 separate groups. You did not aspire to that, something that you hoped would happen; you actually predicted it.

    See the difference? Thought not.

  • grumpy oul man

    I have asked you for some examples of how equality can or has been used as a weapon.
    You never seem to be able to come up with examples.
    Could that be that you have no examples!
    Its all in your mind.

  • mac tire

    “Certainly it is our view that it CAN be
    accomplished over a short period. Gerry Adams has said 2016 and I THINK
    that is achievable.”

    Not “it will be accomplished.” Not “it will be achievable.”

    It was an aspiration, not a prediction. You do know the difference? I know you can see his words. I’m just not sure that you are reading them. There’s a difference in that, too.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Reader, can you properly reference your claim that we do not operate the Westminster System here. I’m assured by a Tory MP from “over there” with whom I’ve been discussing this privately that all three devolved administrations in the UK are bound by the customary usages of the Westminster System, certainly in how their executive and ministerial functions are held to account. As I understand the matter, every assembly derived from Westminster, including the Dáil, operates under the Westminster System. Are we somehow the sole exception?

    I’d be inclined to agree that we certainly don’t adhere to the Westminster system in practice, as Arlene’s behaviour clearly shows, but as I understand matters, its still the model we should properly adhere to with the obvious local differences that we are a unicameral assembly, and do not employ a cabinet system but rather the consociational model requires ministerial roles to function as stand alone entities functioning under the scrutiny of the statutory committees and the executive office of OFMdFM. But, regarding the key ministerial accountability issue on which I’m posting, if you can demonstrate credibly how our accountability system for ministers in any way differs from Westminster System usages, I’d be most obliged to be instructed. As I understand the matter, we have simply inherited the same usages in this matter as the old Parliament of Northern Ireland.

    That should bring the total to 35 mentions of “Westminster” to date in my postings on this thread.

  • Skibo

    James I listened to it again and I repeat my request, please show me where Gerry says “a crisis a day”
    Listen to it and repeat the words he uses, not the ones you want him to use. Never waste a crisis, never waste a difficulty. That is what he said.
    The crisis was created by the British Government having a vote on leaving the EU. Why shouldn’t a political party make use of a mistake?
    What was it Napoleon said, never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

  • james

    Simply put, it shows that SF cannot achieve the things they claim they can.

    Which is a decidedly good thing for everyone else in both Northern Ireland and Ireland proper since most of us, in both countries, don’t want to be dragged back to the 19th century Republican pipedreams of that era.

  • The Irishman

    Bigots…

  • The Irishman

    I have also asked several times how equality can be used as a weapon… never have got an answer.

  • The Irishman

    Ffs Chris

  • The Irishman

    But why do you need to bring it up multiple times every post.. tell me

  • The Irishman

    Chris jones2… yes, they are Gerrys words.. same as they were the other 4 or 5 times you’ve mentioned it on this blog alone.

  • Granni Trixie

    But would you not concede that there is difference in working to achieve an even playing field (equality, if you will) and exploiting equality issues for party gain?

  • mac tire

    Well, we don’t know whether they can claim anything, James. They have aspirations – and so do you, not just politically but personally. You won’t claim them as predictions, though. Good, we have sorted that link and quote out. Though you and Chris could have pointed to the online recording of the incident. But that would have undermined your argument. Perhaps Granni Trixie can explain that, as she seems to approve (I have a theory about that though – these Alliance ones have been smarted after their comprehensive defeat by the DUP – and will never have any inroads in Nationalist areas, so they must try to appeal to more Unionists. You and I know that is too late).

    Dragged to a 19th C Republicanism? The irony of 17th C Unionism (which, admittedly saw itself as Irish until about 90 years ago.)
    We also have a 19th C view of Britain emerging with Brexit.

    Now, explain why a Unionist such as Granni Trixie is afraid of equality, exactly why it is a trojan horse to her.

  • mac tire

    Equality issues would be for equality, not any party gain.

    Alliance are supposedly for equality issues, Are they doing this for party gain? We would like to know. Seriously, are Alliance just in this for party gain? And if not, why not?

  • The Irishman

    It’s all saved in writing on this website.. so the first time you mentioned it, you reminded everyone that reads this website about Gerry and a Trojan horse comments.
    So why the need to bring it up multiple times every blog?

  • Granni Trixie

    I judge on the evidence, I suggest you and others do the same.

  • grumpy oul man

    It seems almost to be a article of faith, what i find amusing is that Unionists such as CJ2 and James is that they tell all and sundry that a evil enemy is using equality as a weapon!
    This i suppose is meant to impress upon others how badly unionists are treated by republicians, the simple fact that the only people that can be threatened by equality are those that hold power or influence by inequality.
    The SA Apartheid goverment, the KKK and other rascist or supremacist groups are the only people who regard equality as a threat.

  • mickfealty

    Which date was that Isambard?