SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin has questioned the role of The Executive Office (TEO) Ministers following the withdrawal of the DUP.
The Assembly’s Executive Office Committee chair was speaking after a meeting on Wednesday.
She raised the issue after Junior Minister Declan Kearney attended a meeting of the Joint Committee on the Protocol this week.
Ms McLaughlin questioned if the Joint First Ministers and Junior Ministers were still receiving their salary and other ministerial privileges following the Executive’s collapse.
The committee agreed to support Ms McLaughlin writing to the department for further clarification.
Foyle MLA Ms McLaughlin said:
“At today’s committee meeting I raised a number of questions around the operation of The Executive Office following the DUP’s decision to collapse our Executive. While the blame for that lies with them alone, I was surprised to learn this week that the Junior Ministers are still in post and carrying out duties. The committee was recently told that the Junior Ministers could not attend in the absence of an Executive, but they appear able to pick and choose other duties to perform.
“This raises further questions about the status of the Junior Ministers and the Joint First Ministers. The public has a right to know if they are still receiving their tax-payer funded salary increases and the other privileges that comes with the office they no longer hold.
“Communities right across the North are on their knees, spiralling costs of everything from groceries to heating have pushed people right to the brink. The idea that politicians would be getting paid for a job they are no longer doing, particularly those in the DUP who collapsed our Executive to serve their own selfish ends, would be a slap in the face to everyone who is struggling to get by.
“Nobody should be rewarded for failure, it’s time we had politicians willing to put people first, ahead of their own and their parties' interests.”