NI Protocol: Funeral of Good Friday Agreement unless it is sorted – Poots.

Stormont was mothballed in 2017

Leading bands announce NI Protocol Aid 2022

Rumours circulated today about the organising of a large concert to increase attention of, and bring aid to, those deeply affected by the N.I. Protocol. Olde Time Rockers ‘Leaders of Unionism’ are understood to have agreed to headline the event, with backing from modern electro-rock group ‘Protestant Action Force’. The man leading attempts to bring […]

Leading bands announce NI Protocol Aid 2022


Jamie Bryson: ‘THE LEGAL EAGLE’


Public fund Stormont office jobs

MORE than half the DUP‘s Storming team use taxpayers’ money to employ family members in their offices. According to the assembly’s register of interests 22 of the party’s 38 MLA‘s have relatives working for them.

Democratic Unionist Party
Democratic Unionist Party (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The figure is twice as many as all other parties combined. The total wage bill for MLAs‘ relatives working at Storming has been estimated at £500,000. In the wake of the expended scandal at West minister rules were introduced allowing MPs to employ one family member. No such rules exist at Storming. DUP finance minister Sammy Wilson, who has never employed a family member, defended the practice. “Provided people can do the job then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be employed,” he said last night.”It happens in every walk of life and it’s not regarded as nepotism there so why should it be regarded any different in political life?” However, N121 assembly member John McCallister said the high number of relatives working for MLAs could give the public the wrong impression. “I’m sure many of these family members who work for MLAs do a very good job but unfortunately it does little to enhance the image of us politicians,” he said. “The perception that nepotism is rife can only further damage politicians in the ppublic’s minds.”

The register shows four Ulster Unionists, three SDLP, two Alliance and one Sinn Fein member have given jobs to their family members or relatives of other MLAs, while TUV leader Jim Allister employs his daughter as a part-time secretary and researcher. Among those employed at Stormont or working on behalf of MLAs include DUP leader Peter Robinson’s daughter and daughter in-law, foformer UUP MLA Billy Armstrong is employed by his daughter Sandra Overend, while employment and learning minister Stephen Carry employs his wife. The recruitment process for party workers is not governed by Fair Employment law, so in effect assembly members can employ anybody they wish. Mr McCallister said he was glad rules had been introduced at Stormont which forced MLAs to reveal which members of their family they were employing. “It’s difficult area to regulate but it’s much better now that assembly members must declare where they are employing family members or relatives of other party representives,” he said.

With many thanks to : John Manley, Political Reporter, The Irish News.

Email: J.manley@iiris

Whose wages do taxpayers pay?

Latest New Member in East Belfast Welcomed


  • Jonathan Bell employs his wife as a part-time secretary and researcher; employs Peter Robinson’s son as constituency manger and the DUP leader’s daughter-in-law as a part-time secretary.
  • Paula Bradley employs her cousin as part-time office support.
  • Gregory Campbell – jointly employs fellow MLA George Robinson’s son as a researcher.
  • Trevor Clarke employs his wife as a part-time clerical assistant.
  • Jonathan Craig paid his brother-in-law consultancy fees for design, update and maintenance of website.
  • Sammy Douglas employs his son as a researcher.
  • Gordon Dune employs his son as a researcher.
  • Alex Easton employs his wife as a part-time clerical officer with typing duties.
  • Paul Frew employs his wife as a full-time personal assistant and researcher.
  • Paul Girvan employs his son as a part-time researcher.
  • Brenda Hale employed her brother-in-law to refurbish her constituency office.
  • William Hay employs his brother-in-law as an office manager in his Derry constituency office.
  • William Irwin employs his daughter as a full-time office assistant.
  • Nelson McCausland employs his nephew as a constituency worker.
  • Ian McCrea employs his wife as a secretary and his brother-in-law as a researcher and personal assistant.
  • David McIlveen employs employs his father as a part-tme researcher.
  • Michelle Mcllveen employs her brother as a researcher and office manager.
  • Adrian McQuillan employs sister-in-law as a full-time researcher, aunt as a part-time assistant secretary and jointly with two other members, employs a nephew of George Robonson as a researcher.
  • Robin Newton employs his son as a resarcher/constituency worker and wife as a secretary/office manager.
  • George Robinson employs his son as an office manger and personal assistant and jointly with two other members, employs a nephew as a researcher.
  • Peter Robinson employs his daughter as office manager.
  • Alastair Ross employs his sister-in-law as a constituency case worker.
  • Jimmy Spratt employs his wife as a part-time manager.


  • Alex Attwood employs his brother as a constituency assistant
  • John Dallat employs his wife as an office administrater
  • Pat Ramsey employs his wife as a driver and his wife’s nephew as a parliamentary assistant.


  • Roy Beggs employs his wife as a part-time secretary.
  • Leslie Cree employs his wife as a part-time researcher.
  • Joanna Dobson employs her sister one day per week as a clerical officer
  • Sandra Overend employs her father Billy Armstrong, a former MLA, on an ad-hoc basis to undertake advisory and constituency work.


  • Stephen FCarry employs his wife as a senior researcher.
  • Korean McCarthy employs his son on a part time basis for general office duties.

Sinn Fein

  • Fra McCann employs a nice of Paul and Alex Maskey as a personal assistant.


  • Jim Allister employs his daughter part-time as a secretary and office manager.


Pro Fide Patria

Time to end jobs for boys culture


AT A time when the ccredibility of our devolved structures has been increasingly called into qquestion, it may not come as a complete surprise to find that so many DUP MLAs insist on using public funds to employ family members in their offices.

Our investigation today has established that more than half of the members of the DUP’s assembly group have given posts to relatives of eleceted representives, with the total figure twice that of all other parties combined. Although no-one is suggesting that any rules have been broken, the thinking which leads to the selection of partners, children, ccousins and even in one case a parent is still striking. Jobs of all kinds are very hard to come by these days and ordinary voters may well think that attractive opportunities in the managerial, secretarial and research sectors both at Storming and constituency level should go to the best available candidate. Indeed, progress over fair employment has taken decades to achieve and it is reasonable to expect that MLAs should set a positive example to the wider community in this respect. However, cynics will have noted how clear it is that sharing a name or a blood line with a DUP politician provides a huge advantage when it comes to filling in an application form. After all the uproar over the special advisers, when it emerged that some parties could be handing out key portions offering enormous salaries provided by the tax payer in almost complete secrecy, this is another damaging episode. The main problem with appointing special advisers and other party posts is the almost total lack of transparency and accountability which surrounds the entire process. If journalists from The Irish News and other outlets did not persistently ask questions of the authorities and frequently receive hostile treatment as a result, important information would never enter the public domain. Politicians who are operating in previliged circumstances should remember at all times that they are spending our money and the least we can exexpect is that they should tell us exactly what they are doing with it.



MANY observers were yesterday highlighting the irony of a party which includes the word ‘democratic’ in its name effectively blocking the overwhelming will of the assembly.


But we knew this was always going to be the outcome once the DUP announced its intention to lodge a petition of concern to veto an inquiry into the allegations of political interferance against Nelson McCausland. A measure designed to stop majoritiaranism – or blatant sectarianism – at Stormont, petitions of concern weren’t something that much occupied the thoughts of Joe and Joe Public until the assembly was recalled to address the Red Sky controversy. They may now be more familiar with its workings and how it can be deployed, but it’s unlikely the whole episode will enamour them to politics on the hill. A clear majority of assembly members – 54 to 32 – supported the motion calling for a probe into the actions of Mr McCausland and his special adviser Stephen Brimstone.

MLAs had returned from recess, albeit after a few short days, and the chamber wwitnessed some passionate and at times bruising debate. But it was all for the optics because no matter how heated and pointed the exchanges became, the predetermined outcome meant they carried no greater weight than a Sunday school debating contest. In political terms we were back where we started. Unfortunately that is the nature of the Storming beast. Power sharing may the concept of devolved institutions are built on but it seems power ultimately resides with the party that can consistently muster 30 signatures and lodge a petition of concern whenever it is unhappy with a particular assembly motion.

The upshot is therefore not democracy but an inverted form of majoritarianism. It’s a system that leaves the majority party in a position where it can overrule the rest of the assembly even when outnumbered two-to-one. As proved on Monday, the DUP as it presently stands in the assembly is unimpeachable and is only likely to see one of its ministers or MLAs censured when they have breached boundaries set by the party itself. Stormount’s recent dearth of legislation has been well documented and it’s believed this lack of determination and decisiveness has turned off many amount the electorate. The collective failure to demonstrate the effectiveness of the political system by making Nelson McCausland answerable to serious allegations can only lead to further disillusionment.

With many thanks to : John ManleyThe Irish News.



‘If the first minister has something to put to me, bring it on – Jim Allister.

THE assembly heard dramatic claims of further links between the DUP and contractor Red Sky from the party’s former MEP Jim Allister. Social devolopment minister Nelson McCausland has faced questions over a meeting he and DUP leader Peter Robinson had with Red Sky management after the company had been placed in administration.

 The party has strongly denied any involvement in the awarding of Housing Executive contracts. During yesterday’s debate there was clear evidence of acrimony between TUV leader Jim Allister and his former party colleagues. Mr Allister made a series of claims after DUP MLA Robin Newton produced a photograph in the chamber which he said showed former social development minister Alex Attwood with another Housing Executive contractor, PK Murphy. Co Tyrone-based PK Murphy was one of four firms named by Mr McCausland last month in connection with estimated £18 million in overpayments by the executive. All four firms have vowed to challenge the minister’s allegations. Mr Allister said Mr Newton “thinks that there is some great importance in photographes”. “Well he did not quite produce the DUP family album but I wonder whether there would be any photographes of dinner parties in the home of [Red Sky managing director] Mr Norman Hayes?” he said.

“I wonder whether there would be any photographes of work done at the homes of members of the DUP. “I wonder whether there would be any photographes of the alleged £27,000-worth of work to partition a [DUP] office at 141 Holywood Road, which Red Sky charged to the assembly. Are there any photographs of that?” Mr Allister accused the DUP of attempting “to cover its tracks in relation to its unhealthy arrangements with commercial interests”. Earlier DUP leader Peter Robinson had challenged the TUV leader over his own ties with any companies mentioned in last week’s Spolight programme. “I have no such interest to declare except when I was a practising barrister I gave advices to Mr Turkington in respect of matters,” Mr Allister said. “Those were absolutely nothing to do with this case or anything else. “However, I thought that when the first minister rose to his feet to talk about transparency he might have been going to tell us about the details of his relationship with Mr Norman Hayes and Mr Turning ton.” The first minister told his former party colleague “to think again about whether he has any further interests to declare”. “If tthe first minister has something to put to me, bring it on,” the TUV leader said. Finance minister Sammy Wilson also told the TUV leader to be “very careful” about withholding interests. “I think an Exocet has been launched today that will eventually find its target,” Mr Wilson said. “The cant, hypocrisy and pseudo outrage that he is so good at will be blown away once that Exocet reaches its target.”

With many thanks to : John Manley (Political Reporter), The Irish News.



Sunday, 8 April 2012
    20:30 until 01:00
    Hello once again Fraternal Brothers and sisters, Friends and Followers.It is our humble privilege to once again host a Charity quiz night on Easter Sunday, 8th April 2012 for two year Chloe Coles.Chloe, from Maghera, Co.Derry has suffered from severe brain damage from… birth and requires round the clock care, was recently featured in the Irish News.
    Her father Jonathan who has had to give up work to care for Chloe recently applied to the Family Fund in Northern Ireland for a new seat for Chloe.
    The seat is a specialised piece of equipment to allow Chloe to live more comfortably day to day; it supports her body and limbs which unlike any other two year old Chloe cannot do on her own.
    The Family Fund in Northern Ireland which gives grants to families of disabled children for essential items including washing machines, bedding and clothing and travel assistance for struggling parents to and from hospital whilst visiting their sick children, recently announced that it had run out of money. The family fund which is financed by the Northern Ireland department of Health was cut from £1.77million in 2010-2011 to £1.57million in 2011-2012.
    What compounds this situation even more is that people living in England, Scotland and Wales will still continue to receive grants.
    Strangford MLA, Kieran McCarthy who sits on the assembly health committee described the situation as “Scandalous”, whilst the Health minister Edwin Pootssaid the decision to cut funding was “regrettable”.That’s where we all CAN make a difference. In our grand motto of friendship, unity and Christian Charity we are appealing to you all to either come and support our event, make a donation (regardless of the size), collect sponsorship, or donate prizes for the raffle.
    If you would like to host your own Charity quiz night for Chloe, please let us know.

    We want to make this the most successful event we have held, and our greatest desire is to ensure that Chloe receives the seat she and her family so badly need,

    The Worthy President, Management committee and Division Members
    AOH Division 284
    See more

POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  Public event · By Aoh Newry and Aodhán Bennett
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