Mervyn Storey uses ministerial car when not a minister
The DUP's Mervyn Storey yesterday travelled to Stormont in a ministerial car even though he had yet to rejoin the Stormont executive.
The Irish News understands that the North Antrim MLA arrived at Parliament Buildings in a chauffeur-driven, taxpayer-funded car around 45 minutes before being re-nominated as social development minister.
In the weeks since Mr Robinson withdrew all but one of his ministers from the executive over the murder of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan, the DUP has reappointed its ministers to ensure the vacant portfolios are not taken by other parties.
Under assembly rules, if a minister's post is not filled within seven days it will be offered to the DUP's Stormont rivals.
A report in the The Irish News yesterday highlighting how DUP ministers were being paid for the days they are in office prompted widespread outrage.
But it has emerged that as well as being paid for the days he is in office, sometime social development minister Mr Storey has been availing of his chauffer-driven Skoda.
A spokesman for the Department of Social Development declined to comment on whether the North Antrim MLA used a ministerial car and driver yesterday morning before being nominated but they did confirm that he travelled in the ministerial car on September 23 and 30, as well as yesterday afternoon.
According to the Department of Health, Simon Hamilton has not used his ministerial car, nor has recently appointed regional development minister Michelle McIlveen. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has confirmed that Jonathan Bell has not used his ministerial car since September 10.
An OFMDFM spokesman said: "The first minister does not have a ministerial car. His security arrangements are assessed and provided by the PSNI’s close protection unit."