Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein say ex-MLA's speaker salary 'her own affair'

Sinn Fein has issued a statement distancing the party from former Stormont Principal Deputy Speaker Caitriona Ruane.

Following Assembly Questions by TUV MLA Jim Allister focusing on money spent since the collapse of the Executive, it was revealed DUP Assembly Speaker Robin Newton continued to receive an annual salary of £87,000 while Sinn Fein's Ms Ruane and SDLP Deputy Speaker Patsy McGlone continued to be paid their annual salaries of £55,000.

Last week calls were made for Mr Newton to resign following revelations in a BBC Spotlight programme focusing on his links to UDA-linked group Charter NI.

In a statement on Thursday evening, a Sinn Fein spokesperson said: "Caitriona Ruane was no longer an MLA after March this year.

"Any arrangements she may have come to with the Assembly were her own affair."

Ms Ruane served as an MLA for South Down for a period from November 2003 until this year, when she did not stand in in the March election.

During her time in Stormont she served as Minister of Education between 2007 and 2011.

A third Deputy Speaker, the UUP's Danny Kennedy, submitted his resignation in June after losing his seat in the Assembly.

Although the institutions are collapsed, a small number of sittings took place at the end of January and one on March 13.

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