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Special advisors surely a waste of public funds

Published 18/05/2015

Now that OFMDFM has been forced to reveal the detail of special advisors' pay, we can see the extent of political cronyism which sits at the heart of government in Northern Ireland.

Let's be clear: special advisors are political appointments, however it may be dressed up. Their job is to advise ministers on party political responses to policy and policy formulation.

At Stormont, special advisors now operate as a kind of shadow Executive; an unelected rump of political cronies who are the gatekeepers between the civil service and ministers.

Insiders know that getting anything done requires agreement at special advisor level. To now hear that these unelected advisors are being handed jobs at eye-watering salaries they almost certainly could not command had they to go out and look for real work is a further example of rotten government.

It is all the more galling when there is a tested alternative to the paid advisor arrangement.

All the parties in the Executive have MLAs in the Assembly. If they need further advice, let the parties pay for it themselves.


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