It is “abominable” that Stormont’s politicians are still drawing salaries two years after the Assembly last met for business, the late Ian Paisley’s widow has said.
Baroness Paisley, who for many years has had strained relations with the party her husband founded, sharply criticised the current situation.
Due to a delay by Secretary of State Karen Bradley, MLAs retained their full salaries for a year after the NIO’s own advice that they should be slashed. They have now been cut from £49,500 to just over £35,000.
Yesterday Baroness Paisley told BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence: “The politicians need to lay aside a lot of the baggage that they are carrying and they need to face facts. There are so many petty little things that don’t really matter in the bigger picture if they would get out and see the needs. People are crying out for help and they are failing them.
“The longer that they keep out and don’t take their responsibility and don’t face up to the things that they have to face up to, It’s going to get worse and I dread that because that leaves us open for all sorts of trouble.”
She went on: “Another thing that grieves me is that they’re all taking their salaries and some of these people [the public] haven’t even employment; they’re living on the breadline.
“It is abominable for people to take money for nothing. I know they say they’re having meetings and they’re doing this and that and the other thing, but they’re not doing what they’re paid to do.”
Baroness Paisley also criticised the DUP’s choice of its first openly gay councillor, saying that it had been an act of “defiance”. She added: “I think this matter has to be brought before the whole party and a proper decision made about what should be done.”