Assembly pays salaries of staff redeployed to work for Dublin parliament

TUV leader Jim Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister has questioned why the NI Assembly is paying the salaries of staff who have been redeployed to Dublin.

With the Stormont deadlock showing no signs of abating any time soon, some civil servants have been seconded to other legislatures, including the House of Commons, House of Lords and the Scottish Parliament.

And it has also emerged that some staff have been deployed to work in the Houses of the Oireachtas in the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Allister received written confirmation from the Assembly Commission that 11 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff are now working for bodies located outside the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland, although the majority of the work is carried out in Parliament Buildings.

The breakdown of these staff is as follows:

• 4.2 FTE staff seconded to the Commons

• 4.6 to the Scottish Parliament

• 1.4 to House of Lords

• 0.8 to the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Assembly Commission also confirmed that it pays the salaries of these redeployed employees.

North Antrim MLA Mr Allister said it was “understandable” that, given the impasse at Stormont, some staff had been redeployed.

He added: “However, people in Northern Ireland are entitled to ask why in such circumstances the salaries of redeployed staff continue to be paid from the Northern Ireland block grant.

“In the case of staff who have been deployed to work for Dublin in a foreign parliament the questions are more profound.

“UK taxpayers’ money should not be spent to aid the running of a non-UK administration.

Mr Allister has tabled follow-up questions to the Assembly Commission in a bid to establish how much the redeployed staff have cost the Assembly to date.

The commission said it does not have any formal secondment arrangements in place for staff outside Northern Ireland.

It added: “However, the commission has utilised its contacts in other legislatures to seek to maintain the skills and experience of its staff during the period when the Assembly has not been fully functioning through a process of redeployment.

“All redeployment arrangements enable Assembly Commission staff to be recalled immediately once the Assembly resumes its full range of functions.”