Northern Ireland news

Aontú call for MLAs to forgo salaries until new Executive formed

Aontú leader Peadar Toibin leader. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

AONTÚ last night called for MLAs to forgo their salaries until a new Executive is formed.

Peadar Tóibín and Denise Mullen have written to all newly elected and re-elected assembly members asking them "to do the right thing and refuse their salaries".

Conservative MP Simon Hoare MP has also voiced his opposition to MLAs receiving their wages amid the delays in the Executive being formed.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Hoare, who is also chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, said that the north's secretary of state Brandon Lewis had the "powers to cap/reduce salaries if the Executive isn't functioning".

"We've a cost of living crisis," he said.

"No-one should be paid for a job they refuse, by choice, to do."

In its statement, Aontú leader Mr Tóibín said it "would be absolutely wrong for MLAs to draw down salaries in this cost of living crisis while the democratic institutions are failing to operate".

"It is outrageous for people who cannot afford to pay their bills, feed their children or put petrol in their car, to see their MLAs get big salaries and not do their job," he said.

"We have written to each MLA and have asked them to do the right thing and refuse their salaries.

"The Assembly election was meant to be about addressing the fundamental bread and butter issues hammering working families across the north.

"Not even a wet week after the people have had their democratic say, the DUP have ignored it and are doing everything in their political power to stop an Executive being formed.

"Their leader has even refused to take up the seat he ran for in the Assembly elections a week ago. They are treating the electorate with disdain. Aontú ran as the party of political reform and accountability: that begins with ensuring MLAs doing their jobs."

Ms Mullen added that MLA salaries "should be suspended until an Executive is formed".

"In no other profession would you be paid for refusing to do your job. Only in Stormont," she said.

"Aontú is also running a petition on this key issue and we would encourage every citizen to send a message loud and clear to the political establishment, that this is not tolerable."

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