ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster says she has “no apology to make” after a BBC Spotlight documentary revealed that she used an office in Kesh rent free for seven years.

The programme, which aired on Tuesday night, investigated the office expenses of some MLAs, including the Fermanagh-south Tyrone representative.

It reported how Mrs. Foster once had three offices in her constituency, including one in Kesh, which was owned by David Mahon, a businessman and grand master of the Orange Order in Donegal.

The programme reported how the Assembly Member used the office for free and used public money to claim the rates on the building owned by Mr. Mahon.

Spotlight said it had contacted Mrs. Foster about the office and claimed that the day after she received the letter from them she added the Kesh office to her Stormont declaration of interests.

Asked to comment on the programme yesterday, Mrs. Foster told The Impartial Reporter: “I have no apology to make for opening facilities to meet constituents across Fermanagh. The offices which were previously open allowed people access to their elected representative without having to travel to Enniskillen.

“This was a programme that focused on the use of public money. It is therefore strange that part of this would focus on the office in Kesh which was available at a lower cost to the public because I had been granted permission to use it without the payment of rent,” she said.

Mrs. Foster told this newspaper that the donation “fell below the value at which declaration of interests are required”.

“I have had this fact confirmed to me by the Assembly Finance Office, but subsequently I voluntarily added it to the register simply to provide transparency and openness,” she said.

There was also a focus in the programme on an office that Mrs. Foster once had in Lisnaskea.

After she became a Stormont Minister, she and her husband bought part of a building on Main Street, Lisnaskea with half an acre of land for £75,000. The remainder of the building was sold to the DUP’s Erne East branch a few months later which Mrs. Foster then rented as a constituency office. Spotlight asked her if the party’s Erne East branch bought the office on behalf of the DUP.

Mrs. Foster denied this, telling the programme that the property was not owned by the Erne East branch and no party funds were used in the purchase of the property.

The programme went on to report how, according to land registry records, the four people who bought the property were listed as trustees of the DUP’s Erne East branch. Last year Mrs. Foster’s husband bought the office from the same four people though this time they weren’t listed as the trustees, reported Spotlight. Between them the Fosters now own the entire building.

Mrs. Foster now just has one constituency office – based in New Street, Enniskillen.

She told this newspaper yesterday: “Some time ago I was forced to conduct a review of our constituency provision because of a reduction in the funds available to operate these. The DUP will continue however to provide the very highest level of service to the people of Fermanagh.”