Aontu proposes stopping Stormont MLA salaries ‘if they won’t do their job’

The political party Aontu has proposed stopping the salaries of Stormont MLAs “if they won’t do their job”.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 9:35 pm

The political party Aontu has proposed stopping the salaries of Stormont MLAs “if they won’t do their job”.

Leader Peadar Toibin said they are standing on a platform of “serious reform”, which he described as “needed now more than ever”.

Since the last Stormont election in 2017, the Assembly was collapsed for three years following the resignation of then deputy first minister Martin McGuinness.

Aontu leader Peadar Toibin speaking at the launch of his party's Assembly election manifesto at Farset International in west Belfast. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ULSTER ElectionAontu. Photo credit should read: Rebecca Black/PA Wire

While it resumed in 2020, the Executive was left unable to fully function following the resignation of first minister Paul Givan in February.

“There is a crisis in the north of Ireland, the likes of which has not been seen for generations and it needs radical change right now,” Mr Toibin told his party’s manifesto launch at Farset International on the west Belfast peace line.

“The north of Ireland has been drastically let down by the political system and by politicians.

“Under the reforms that we want to institute in the next Assembly is that we want to create a situation where parties such as the DUP and Sinn Fein can no longer crash the political institutions. No one political party has the right to take down the people’s democratically elected Assembly.

“And also, they can’t seek a wage if they’re going to bring it down either.”

He said his party wants to make sure there is an Opposition within Stormont in the future.

Aontu’s manifesto proposes reform of the Stormont institutions including the devolution of fiscal powers from London, increased investment to the education and health systems and increased tax on homes that are empty for more than two years with no good reason.

The party also commits to a referendum on Irish unity within five years, the formation of a new Ireland forum to plan for reunification, vows to protect the Brexit protocol and calls for the immediate implementation of Irish language legislation.

Mr Toibin, who is elected as TD for the Meath West constituency in the Irish Republic, contends that Aontu is the only anti-abortion all Ireland political party.

This is the first Stormont Assembly election the party has contested. In 2019, it contested the Westminster election, winning 1.2% of Northern Ireland’s electorate.

They are running 12 candidates, and Mr Toibin said he believes they will be competing for a seat in at least four constituencies, including West Belfast and Foyle.