Lockhart had no idea of RHI link

Carla Lockhart
Carla Lockhart

Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart has said she had no knowledge of her extended family’s links to the RHI scheme.

Ms Lockhart said she had only discovered recently that her sister-in-law’s husband had been involved in the scheme, which he had joined before she had become an MLA.

She said, “The RHI scheme has come in for a lot of scrutiny over the past number of months and rightly so. I feel it is important to clarify that I was not an MLA in 2014 and therefore was not part of development of the scheme and was unaware as to how it ran.

“I was in no way involved in the application process and there is no indication of wrong doing on the applicants part.

“My mum and dad are poultry farmers and did not avail of the scheme and I am very content for any journalist to view my bank details which will clearly demonstrate I have no financial interest in my sister-in-law’s husband’s business and did not benefit financially from it.

“I am committed to the people of Upper Bann and to that end I will continue my work for my constituents.”

In a statement released on Monday evening the DUP said: “Following an audit of all our MLAs in order to achieve transparency and to help build public confidence we asked every DUP MLA to indicate whether any of their family members are beneficiaries in the RHI scheme.

“Carla Lockhart has indicated that her sister-in-law’s husband is a farmer and is in the scheme. Carla has only recently become aware of this.”

The statement also pointed to Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin.

The DUP said: “William Irwin has a son-in-law who is a farmer and is in the scheme.

“Neither MLA was involved in lobbying for these individuals and neither has any financial or other interests in the farms concerned.

“We would again want to point out that in the main those in the non domestic RHI scheme applied absolutely legitimately to what was a government approved scheme and should be viewed as such.”