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Jonathan Bell showing the strain... from sharp dresser to tired and awkward

By Staff Reporter ·

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Jonathan Bell on TV in 2016

In his political and Ministerial career, Jonathan Bell had always come across as a snappy dresser, sporting well-cut suits,silk ties and radiating a sense of hail-fellow-well-met bonhomie and gregariousness.

But yesterday's session of the long-running Renewable Heat Incentive inquiry got under way, the former Deti Minister - who is in his second day of giving evidence at the former Senate Chamber at Stormont - looked tired, puffy, and often uncomfortable.

He wore a pair of staid spectacles that - in the homely Ulster saying - put years on him, and under the questioning of the RHI Inquiry officials he sometimes seemed ill at ease with the proceedings.

At one point he choked with emotion as he described how he had fought alone as "just one boy" against what he said were multiple attempts to smear him.

At some of the forensic questioning from the RHI's legal experts, Mr Bell was forced to admit that he could not recall important details in respect of the administration of the bungled RHI scheme which is costing the taxpayer millions of pounds.

This was a performance far from the polished, confident, affable Jonathan Bell of his Ministerial heyday.

Mr Bell is to appear again at the RHI Inquiry on Friday.

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Jonathan Bell on TV in 2016
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Jonathan Bell at the RHI inquiry yesterday