Belfast Telegraph

MLA's expenses: Stormont newcomer Rosaleen McCorley splashes out taxpayers' cash on a Smart TV

By Sunday Life reporters

Stormont newcomer Rosaleen McCorley splashed out £1,270 of taxpayers' cash on a Smart TV for her office at Sinn Fein's west Belfast HQ, according to her office allowances claim.

Many MLAs have claimed for a TV for their office but the West Belfast MLA's claim for her pricey telly is one of the more eyecatching.

Sinn Fein said "this particular television" was necessary due to its video conferencing ability and was used regularly for meetings.

But the price of the TV was not the only eyecatching thing about Ms McCorley's office allowance expenses. The TV was one of 17 purchases by Sinn Fein's five west Belfast MLAs made within seven days from the same reputable Belfast IT firm.

Sixteen of the transactions were made on April 14 this year, according to their published expense claims.

Ms McCorley and colleagues Pat Sheehan, Fra McCann, Jennifer McCann and Sue Ramsey (who recently stepped down due to ill health), all got new PCs for £501 each that day plus hundreds of pounds of IT kit from the company.

Seven days later Ms McSorley - a former republican prisoner who who was co-opted onto the Assembly in 2012 - got her TV for her office in Connolly House, bringing the five MLAs total purchase within seven days at the same IT firm to more than £6,000.

The office expenses for the five SF MLAs in west Belfast have similarities although they operated from four different offices.

They all used the same office cleaning firm - the same one used by other city MLAs Gerry Kelly, Alex Maskey, Carál Ní Chuilín.

And while April 14 was a bumper day for one IT company, May 6 was also a bumper day for a print firm based at Conway Mill in west Belfast as Sinn Fein went shopping.

Ms McCorley got £1,175 worth of office kit from the local firm on May 6.

Keeping it local, westside colleagues Pat Sheehan (£1,600), Fra McCann (£1,100) and Sue Ramsey (£860) made big purchases from the same firm on May 6, as did Alex Maskey (£2,280) - who recently switched from representing south to west Belfast.

Sinn Fein explained the IT firm, cleaning firm and print firm were reputable and professional local companies who have provided the party with an excellent level of service and value for money.

The republican party added it seeks to support local businesses where and when it can.

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