Former Assembly member Caitriona Ruane quits Stormont deputy speaker role
A Sinn Fein politician who continued to be paid as a Stormont speaker amid the powersharing crisis, despite not returning as an Assembly member, has quit.
Assembly procedures mean the speaker, principal deputy speaker and two deputy speakers retain their role after an election is called until a new team of speakers is elected at the start of a new mandate.
But with no new Assembly being formed in the wake of March's snap poll, Sinn Fein Principal Deputy Speaker Caitriona Ruane has continued in her role, despite not standing for re-election in March.
The issue was highlighted by TUV leader Jim Allister.
Ms Ruane issued a statement on Thursday evening saying she had resigned. She also made clear that she had paid her salary to charity since March.
"I have resigned with immediate effect as Principal Deputy Speaker," she said.
"I have put on record with the Assembly last March I would be donating the salary to a wide range of charities.
"I can confirm that I have donated the monies received to charities and community groups including an Irish Language group, a group for the elderly, an LGBT group, and a charity for children with disabilities.
"I never anticipated that the election of a new Speaker and Deputy Speaker would be so protracted and I have come to the conclusion that now is the time to tender my resignation.
"I hope in the interests of the people of the north that the institutions are restored and a new Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected as soon as possible."