The cost of intransigence - Silent Stormont faces a pay cut

That great arbiter, the Guinness Book of World Records, has declined to recognise the record set in Northern Ireland last week. 

The region became the jurisdiction without a government for the longest period in peacetime but Guinness said NI was “not eligible” for the record as it could have laws passed at Westminster. This seems to dismiss the integrity of NI’s politics but recognise enduring and toxic tribalism.

This seems an entirely apt dismissal of a parliament that routinely shirks its responsibilities and grinds to a halt by indulging its age-old hatreds. However, reality intervened yesterday, maybe even a transformative reality. Stormont politicians are to have their salaries cut by £13,000 (€15,500) as they have not been engaged in parliamentary work since early last year. This move will bring an MLA’s salary down from £49,500 down to £35,888.

Just as this overdue censure was imposed it was revealed that EU ambassadors to Ireland have warned their capitals that in the context of Brexit “the Irish border question needs to be answered” and that speculation on post-Brexit prospects of a reunited Ireland is no longer a complete fantasy.

This raises many, many questions one of which is this: Would politicians in a reunited Ireland work for Stormont rates — €55,000 a year — or hold out for the comparative bonanza — €93,599 — paid to Dáil deputies in the Republic?

Answers on a 32-county ballot card please.

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