FERMANAGH’S MLAs have had their salaries cut by a whopping £14,000.
The move was made by the UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, following the continued failure of MLAs to elect a speaker for the Assembly at Stormont and to form an Executive government.
This deduction of earnings by 27.5 per cent means that all five of Fermanagh & South Tyrone’s MLAs – along with the other MLAs in the North – will now be earning £37,337 per year instead of £51,500.
Heaton-Harris said: “The recent debate at Stormont demonstrated the effect of Northern Ireland’s continued political stalemate. Instead of working together to deliver on the issues that matter most to people in Northern Ireland – including a rising cost of living and the delayed energy payment scheme, elected representatives are in a state of stagnation.
“At a time when the public rightly expect every pound of taxpayers’ money to be well spent, I am reducing MLA pay by 27.5 per cent. This figure remains under review.”
DUP MLA for Fermanagh & South Tyrone, Deborah Erskine insisted that she will continue to do work for her constituents no matter what.
She said, “Pay is entirely a matter for the Northern Ireland Secretary of State.
“For my part there is much to be done in Fermanagh and South Tyrone and regardless, I will continue to work hard for the betterment of all who live here.”
UUP MLA, Tom Elliott stated that while he could see why the cut was enforced, the move would not be a guarantee of an Executive being set up soon.
He said: “It is of course understandable, particularly given public opinion that the Secretary of State would want to reduce MLA salaries, which he of course has the power to do.
“The action will not however resolve the current political stalemate, the Secretary of State’s government allowed the current problematic Northern Ireland Protocol to be put in place and have not provided any resolution to the situation that they created.”
Meanwhile, a Sinn Féin spokesman, on behalf of Fermanagh & South Tyrone’s MLAs – Jemma Dolan, Aine Murphy and Colm Gildernew – insisted that the more important matter was the DUP’s continued boycott of the Executive which ensured the North’s residents were denied the £600 payment to help with high energy bills.
The spokesman said: “The cut to MLAs’ pay has been dealt with, the real issue is the fact that people here will not get the £600 energy payment before Christmas because of the DUP blocking an Assembly and Executive.
“Sinn Féin is ready to form an Executive today, to put ministers in place and work together to get the £600 energy payment out the door to workers and families who are struggling now.”
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