Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called on the establishment parties in Stormont to commit to not taking their salaries or expenses if they do not reach an agreement to re-open Stormont.
An Teachta Tóibín stated:
“On 16th December yet another set of talks between the five Stormont parties and the Irish and British governments will begin.
“Previous rounds of talks have ended without agreement to re-establish an executive and an assembly for the north.
“Stormont has been out of action for over 1,000 days. During that time, people across the north have been deprived of their right to democratic representation and an input at decision-making tables. One tragic outcome of this vacuum has been the direct imposition of an extreme abortion-on-demand regime from Westminster at the underhand behest of Sinn Féin and the SDLP’s leadership.
“There have been no ministers in place to take decisions and to ensure that public services are protected and the basic needs of citizens provided for.
“300,000 people are in poverty in the north. 36,000 people received food parcels last year. 20,000 families are in a state of homelessness. The suicide rate is through the roof. Farmers’ income is under threat, the north’s economy is teetering on recession and mental health funding is on the floor.
“This month nurses have taken the unprecedented step of industrial action. The strains on the health system, like the strains on so many other parts of society, are bringing people and systems to breaking point.
“At the same time that MLAs from establishment parties appear for selfies on nurses’ picket lines, they themselves are taking no practical steps at a political level to rectify this unsustainable situation. Throughout the whole period that Stormont has been inactive, MLAs have continued to avail of millions of pounds in salaries and expenses. Meanwhile dysfunction is gripping essential public services.
“I am calling on the north’s five establishment parties: Sinn Féin, DUP, SDLP, UUP and Alliance to commit to not taking any further MLA salaries or expenses if the upcoming round of talks fails to end the stalemate.
“It is unjust that workers, families and communities continue to endure a worsening quality of life while MLAs who are not representing people avail of millions of pounds.”