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MLA pay rise is far from popular on Belfast streets

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Kirk Dalrymple

Kirk Dalrymple

Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Thomas Williams

Thomas Williams

Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Demi Mills

Demi Mills

Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Malva

Malva

Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Angela Patterson

Angela Patterson

Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

Michelle Love

Michelle Love

Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

/

Kirk Dalrymple

The £1,000 MLA pay hike was yesterday branded "absolutely outrageous" with people in Belfast yesterday voicing their dismay at the news.

The Assembly confirmed that as a result of the power-sharing institutions returning, the annual MLA salary will rise from £49,500 to £50,500.

People on the streets were quick to compare it to recent public sector pay struggles.

Kirk Dalrymple (65), from Ballymena, expressed dismay that the pay rise was automatic and compared the situation with the recent health care worker strikes.

"The fact they have done nothing for the last three years - for me it would have been more interesting if they had done something in the next three or four months to at least deserve a pay rise," he said.

"The fact that they have now been given an extra £1,000 just for going back into work again is terrible. When the nurses went on strike they didn't get any pay."

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In light of this news, Thomas Williams (47), from Belfast, was unconvinced Stormont should have been restored at all.

He said: "I wish they were all fired and lost their money completely. We did okay without them. Give them another six months or a year and they will be out on strike again because they don't agree with someone's point of view."

Malva (34), originally from Poland, added: "They already owe us for the past three years and now they are going to get paid extra.

"It is ridiculous that they should be able to get paid extra money at all when they were already getting paid for not doing their job.

"When I take a sick day I lose a day's pay. I am out of money no matter what happens."

Angela Paterson (53) and Michelle Love (53) are friends from Limavady.

Reacting to the news, Angela said: "They should be paying back the money. It's disgraceful."

"I think they should be giving the nurses this pay rise. I think the nurses are the ones that actually do the work. These politicians need to grab a brain, get real and understand what the people want.

"I was happy they went back into Stormont, but they need to take a step back and take a reality check."

Michelle added: "We only see them (the politicians) when there is a vote coming up. They are only there for a pay packet.

"They don't represent the true values of the people, because if they did these nurses would not have had to fight for their rights."

Demi Mills (22), from Comber, thought that any additional money given to MLAs should have instead been directed into the health service.

"I think it is ridiculous. The money could be better spent elsewhere such as in the NHS," she said.

"If they were on minimum wage you would look over it if they wanted a pay rise in April, but they have been paid for three years for doing absolutely nothing."

Justin Cole (42), from Belfast, summed up the general sentiment yesterday when he described the situation as "a total waste".

He added: "They haven't been in work for three years. It is outrageous they are getting any additional money. Public sector workers have taken a real hammering over the last few years and that doesn't seem to apply to the MLAs. It seems to be that money is no object."

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