Belfast Telegraph

Stormont farce just keeps getting worse

Editor's Viewpoint

The vast majority of people in Northern Ireland will be shocked and annoyed to learn that the taxpayer is footing a sum of well over £1 million to cover Stormont's utility bills, even though the Assembly and Executive are not sitting.

Figures obtained by the Belfast Telegraph reveal that nearly £97,000 was paid out for electricity between January and September, nearly £51,000 for heating, more than £798,000 on rates, and nearly £43,000 on telephone calls.

That equates to more than £3,500 a day.

In addition to these costs, the MLAs continue to receive their lucrative salaries for doing nothing.

Some £37,000 a day has been paid to MLAs and their staff.

In Northern Ireland we have become so used to our own peculiar brand of politics that such wasteful expenditure has almost lost its meaning.

This outrageous situation of paying people for doing nothing would result in mass protests elsewhere across the British Isles.

Despite this, the MLAs continue to brazen it out, and some even try to justify their salaries.

Meanwhile, the problems continue to pile up for Stormont. The grim news yesterday of the loss of 500 jobs at Bombardier and Schlumberger underlines the fact that there is no one at Stormont to fight the workers' cases.

Meanwhile, the local health service faces fresh pressures, a year after the Bengoa Report promised so much but which cannot be implemented in a political vacuum.

There are also urgent legacy issues, including the treatment of individual cases, and the appalling situation of victims not living long enough to see justice being done.

Many people are extremely bitter to see the Hill being lit up and ready for action while politicians continually fail to step up to the mark.

In the absence of working MLAs, senior civil servants have to run the province, but the failure by the MLAs to form an accountable government will long be remembered and resented by the population at large.

Do these politicians have any sense of shame, or any notion of public duty?

They are a disgrace, with gloomy prospects looming of a total breakdown.

The people deserve better than this.

The failure to govern continues to bring our politics - and our politicians - into total disrepute.

Belfast Telegraph

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