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‘There is £300m sitting in Stormont gathering dust’: Mother of two urges parties to address cost-of-living crisis


Kerry Dodds and her sons Liam and Joseph

Kerry Dodds and her sons Liam and Joseph

Kerry Dodds and her sons Liam and Joseph

A young mother struggling to pay her bills has urged politicians to get back to business as soon as possible and deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

Mother of two Kerry Dodds, from north Belfast, said the £300m “gathering dust” in Stormont could be used to help the many people unable to meet their monthly bills.

Ms Dodds (23), from Ardoyne, is a single mother of sons Joseph (3) and one-year-old Liam. The full-time mother, who is studying for a psychology degree with the Open University, said she is unable to survive without help from food banks and charities.

“I am just hoping that they get back up and running — just look at the cost-of-living crisis and the impact it is having on all of us,” she said.

“They have let this go on too long. People are picking between eating or heati ng.”

Others are also calling for the re-establishment of the Executive following last week’s election.

Helen Deery, from Derry City, described on social media meeting a women who sold her wedding rings to pay for 300 litres of oil. “Let that sink in,” she added.

This prompted Derry Against Fuel Poverty to reply: “Shame on anyone elected that isn't punching through all the ceilings to get money out to those that need it most. I hope they started designing a bespoke system to get help out to solely those that need it instead of throwing it round them like wedding favours.”

While prices for electricity and gas are making the headlines, food costs are also increasing. The DUP has blamed the NI Protocol for higher food prices here, a claim challenged by economists.

Ms Dodds said she has no extra money to bring her two children out for fun days. She believes Stormont has the power to provide help those who need it.

“This is really having an effect on people's mental health. There is £300m sitting in Stormont gathering dust,” she said.

“I am just hoping that they can back up as soon as possible because it is a strain even on charity organisations.”

The young mother continued: “My message to them is stay in power, do not pull out of power because of silly issues that can be worked out later. We have not really a proper government since 2017, with RHI, then Covid, and now people are out again.”

Rev Kyle Paisley, son of Ian and twin brother of North Antrim DUP MP Ian Jr, has also taken to social media to urge the parties to go back into government. The Suffolk-based clergyman posted a quote from his father who, when asked why he went into government with Sinn Fein, replied: “Because the people elected them. That is democracy and they are not going away.”

Rev Paisley added: “NI needs a functioning government ASAP. London will do nothing for unionists on the protocol, except break their word time and again.”