Political news

'No-one else gets paid if they don't work' - Irish News readers back MLA pay cut

Money for nothing? Irish News readers agree Stormont MLA salaries should be cut or stopped altogether in the absence of power sharing. Picture by Paul Faith/PA
Paul Ainsworth

IRISH News readers have given their overwhelming backing to moves to cut MLA pay in the absence of a government at Stormont.

Legislation was introduced at Westminster this week giving Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris the power to adjust salaries while the assembly is unable to conduct business.

With assembly members not fulfilling the full range of their duties, wages could be cut by 27 per cent – equivalent to around £14,000.

This would bring annual incomes down from £51,500 to £37,337.

Read more: 

Visitors to www.irishnews.com were urged to have their say on whether MLA pay should or shouldn't be slashed as the Stormont stalemate continues.

'Major reset needed'

Oliver in Mid Ulster said all pay must stop "immediately" and called for a "major reset" of the institutions.

He suggested an Assembly comprising "medics, business leaders, academics" and other citizens to replace MLAs from the north's political parties.

Peter in Belfast said of assembly members: "They have never done any work really, and anyone who does no work should get no pay."

Devolution could return sooner if the Conservative government in London "dropped its purist Brexit ideology which has forced the EU to protect its single market", Lurgan's Mark McMorrow said.

He added: "It would also help if the British government stopped pandering to the DUP, ceased using the DUP in their phony war with the EU, and educated them on the realities of a hard Brexit."

'MLAs should donate salary to sexual abuse survivors'

Sharon Elliott from the Shankill area of Belfast suggested MLA pay should instead be given to survivors of sexual abuse, whom she said politicians here were failing, calling their actions an "utter disgrace".

In Derry, Claire Canning said politicians should be "working to support us through this cost of living and health crisis", adding: "Any party that will not agree to restore devolution should have their pay cut."

Garrett in the Republic said salaries shouldn't just be reduced but "cancelled completely" along with any expenses.

"No-one else gets paid if they don't work, so why should elected officials?" he asked.

'Slash DUP pay'

Randalstown man Joe Smyth said MLA pay should be cut, but suggested the DUP should be "singled out" in this for their refusal to enter an Executive.

DUP MLAs having their pay cut more than others was a suggestion also backed by Belfast's Aine Keegan as "they are the reason we still sit with no devolved government", while Kelly in Lurgan said the cut should only affect "those who refuse to sit".

Brian in Derry believes both pay and expenses should be removed entirely for MLAs as "they are doing nothing" at Stormont.

Paul in Armagh agreed with a pay cut and called for measures to prevent "one party being able to bring down government" in future.

Meanwhile, Belfast reader Jane Brown said pay should "absolutely" be cut, adding that the institutions should be reformed to "remove two-party rule".

Read more: 

Political news