Ian Paisley jnr and Danny Kinahan given Rugby World Cup tickets

DUP MP Ian Paisley jnr
Brendan Hughes

TWO of the north's Unionist MPs have declared receiving Rugby World Cup tickets and hospitality worth over £3,000 from a cigarette manufacturer.

DUP MP for North Antrim Ian Paisley jnr and South Antrim Ulster Unionist MP Danny Kinahan got tickets to a Rugby World Cup match in October.

Each politician received a ticket to the match between England and Australia at Twickenham on October 3 from cigarette manufacturers JTI.

They estimate the value of the tickets and dinner as £1,650 each.

JTI Gallaher confirmed in January it would shut down its Ballymena plant in 2017 with the loss of 870 jobs.

Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney said the spending would be "cold comfort to workers" facing an uncertain future.

"People will ask why some political representatives chose to benefit from the hospitality of this company at a time when workers in Ballymena are facing into a bleak Christmas," he said.

Mr Paisley said JTI remains a major employer in his constituency, and the company's management asked him to attend along with key personnel and customers.

Mr Kinahan said: "Many of my constituents are impacted by closures in North Antrim.

"I will continue to take any opportunity to discuss options that may help generate employment for South Antrim and Northern Ireland."

Also in October, SDLP MP Mark Durkan registered with Westminster that he had received travel and accommodation worth £2,400 to meet Colombian peace negotiators in Cuba.


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