EVEN with a substantial pay cut to Stormont Assembly members’ wages, there remains little hope of any imminent movement on the part of Sinn Féin and the DUP.
This is the view of West Tyrone MLA, Daniel McCrossan who this week contended that secretary of state Karen Bradley did not go far enough with Thursday’s announcement.
Ms Bradley, whilst ruling out any new Assembly election on Thursday, revealed that MLAs’ salaries would be cut from £49,500 to £35,888, in two stages. She also said that new legislation would be implemented so that civil servants could make decisions in the absence of devolution.
“It’s an unforgivable situation we’re in,” Daniel McCrossan said.
“I would welcome the pay cut of course, but it’s entirely overdue. This should have been done a long time ago.
“Both parties (Sinn Féin and DUP) have let people down immensely but I don’t think the secretary of state has done enough.”
The North has been without an executive since January 2017 after a bitter row between the governing parties, the DUP and Sinn Féin instigated by the RHI scandal and latterly involving discord over same-sex marriages and an Irish language act.
The Strabane man continued, “These issues are important of course and they need to be resolved but they shouldn’t trump things like education and health.
“The political landscape has changed and people are suffering, there is no doubt about that. We need to get back into government. The health service is in disarray, schools are crumbling… people are becoming the collateral damage to the parties’ inability to find a solution.”
He added, “The secretary of state isn’t acting independently in this case either; she’s working with the DUP who, as we all know are puppet masters for the Tory government.
“For a start we need someone completely independent to chair any talks. But I also think it was a mistake to rule out an election. I think the people are ready to be heard on this. Too much has happened… people want a good health service, good schools – they definitely don’t want this. Who in their right mind would have voted for the situation we’re currently in? If recent protests are anything to go by, and there is eventually an election, I really think there will be a big slippage (in votes) for Sinn Féin and the DUP.”