Friday, May 12, 2006


The costly NI Assembly

A costly business As we all wait to see how the North's politicians behave when the suspended Assembly reconvenes next week, this story in the Belfast Telegraph caught my eye which stated that the cost to British taxpayers for the suspended Assembly, which has sat silent since 2002, is set to soar past £100m!

By the time of the governments' formal devolution deadline in November, the total Assembly bill will have gone beyond the £100m mark from its suspension.

In that time, now more than three-and-a-half-years, Assembly members have not been able to take collective decisions or pass legislation, while their salaries, albeit reduced, and allowances have continued.

The Belfast Telegraph has revealed that the on-going costs for the Assembly amount to around £2,170,000 every month.

Newly-elected chairman of the province's Institute of Directors, Frank Bryan, said:

"The rising costs of the Assembly make it all the more urgent that we achieve a political agreement.

"We need to see the restoration of a working Assembly and Executive which can move forward to put the economy at the top of the agenda."

It's important to put this into proper perspective. One hundred MILLION pounds...for nothing.

You see this is the kind of thing that I think is responsible for the apathy with which the British public feels for NI. No wonder they want to see a United Ireland and to be rid of the place! Can you blame them?

Unionists better hope that this news doesn't attract much attention on "the mainland" - and to be fair news about NI rarely does register there - but I am certain that if you ask every Tom, Dick and Harry you meet on the street in Britain what his views are on this, it would turn out to be most unpleasant to the ears of unionists.

The unionist strategy has been to avoid sharing power with nationalists, but is this strategy going to backfire for them long-term? I think so.

One hundred MILLION pounds. How many British schools could have been helped by that? How many British hospitals? How many British troops in Iraq? How many British police officers?

Instead that money went to funding the farce that is NI politics.

British people need to ask it worth it?


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