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Suzanne Breen

Pay rise reaction shows parties are listening... eventually

Suzanne Breen


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What a difference a day makes. The two big parties' initial response to news that MLAs were in line for a £1,000 pay rise was woefully inadequate

What a difference a day makes. The two big parties' initial response to news that MLAs were in line for a £1,000 pay rise was woefully inadequate

What a difference a day makes. The two big parties' initial response to news that MLAs were in line for a £1,000 pay rise was woefully inadequate

What a difference a day makes. The two big parties' initial response to news that MLAs were in line for a £1,000 pay rise was woefully inadequate.

They both effectively defended the hike by saying that salaries had been set by an independent panel. That tells us that they've learnt little over the past three years. But the wave of public anger forced them into yesterday's U-turn.

The five party leaders are now calling for the pay rise to be immediately deferred.

They say they "share the broad public dismay" and want the Assembly Commission to act on the issue.

When the story of the pay rise broke, only two MLAs appeared to really get just how bad the situation was. People Before Profit's Gerry Carroll and TUV leader Jim Allister reflected the anger on the streets. We can already see how important their voices will be in the new Stormont.

The SDLP and Alliance also expressed their concerns about the pay rise and its timing. The Ulster Unionists disappointingly said zilch.

The U-turn by the big two parties shows that they are listening. They now know that after RHI and all the rest, this is not a public tolerant of its politicians. That's no bad thing.

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