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Apart from turning up as chat show fodder, what have our MPs ever done to help the economy?

Letter of the day: election candidates

Malachi O'Doherty's opinion piece, "Can Sinn Fein Finucane gamble pay off in North Belfast?" (News, May 3), wondered if Mr John Finucane would be "combative with other candidates, or the media". Was he, indeed, cut out to be a politician?

The answer is, firstly, that he would be well-advised to avoid becoming talk show fodder and stick to door-to-door campaigning.

The second answer is that, if he won as an abstentionist MP, the party will pocket the allowances and Mr Finucane can get on with his day job.

It would be enough that Sinn Fein had taken the seat, knocking the DUP into a cocked hat and, at the same time, sending a message to dissidents as to who the voters want.

Abstentionist or not, we need to know more about what our 18 MPs bring to the table that 90 MLAs and 462 councillors don't.

Increasingly, our MPs pop onto our radar as senior party figures trotted out to make a party point, or as the negotiators in our never-ending rounds of crisis talks, or (like Malachi O'Doherty) as talk show regulars.

What is their record in job creation, inward investment and a growth economy? Let's be honest, in terms of the ordinary man or woman in the street, MPs have little (or no) presence in local political life, but it's nice work if you can get it.

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