Our out-of-work MLAs claim £300k expenses

FERMANAGH’S five MLAs have claimed well over £300,000 in expenses last year, including almost tens of thousands of pounds on travelling to an Assembly that hasn’t sat for two-and-a-half years.
In the same week the Western Trust confirmed it has been forced to close a third of beds on a SWAH ward as a result of staff shortages, and as grave concerns about the state of our roads persist, the Herald can reveal our five MLAs claimed a total of £232,358.51 in expenses in the eight months from April to December last year.
Combined with previous claims, this takes the local Stormont expense bill to over a third of a million pounds.
Furthermore, this figure does not include salaries for our five MLAs, Arlene Foster, Sean Lynch, Rosemary Barton, Colm Gildernew, and Jemma Dolan.
The five Fermanagh representatives were in receipt of £49,500 until November last year when they had their pay cut to £35,888, a decision taken by the Government because of the ongoing closure of the Assembly at Stormont.
Two of our MLAs – Jemma Dolan and Colm Gildernew – continued to claim wages and expenses despite never having sat a full day in Stormont.
Among the expenses MLAs claim for are travel costs, rent of premises for constituency offices, and staffing costs.
When approached by the Herald, politicians said they were still involved in providing a ‘first class service’ despite the closure of Stormont.
The Taxpayers Alliance, meanwhile, said the continuing payment to MLAs was ‘unfair to taxpayers’.

For more on this story see this week’s Fermanagh Herald.

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