One MLA paid £30,000 for two hours work

By Scott Jamison

One South Belfast MLA receives nearly £30,000 a year for one to two hours of work as a director of a construction company each month, the latest register of members’ interests for the Assembly has revealed.

South Belfast representatives were part of the 108 MLAs who had their interests revealed last Friday (October 7), with several sitting on various boards.

The Ulster Unionist Party’s Michael McGimpsey was listed as a director of North Down Construction, receiving £28,500 gross remuneration annually for on to two hours average a month.

Mr McGimpsey also owns shares in the company, as well as in North Down Hotels, and three-quarters of an acre of a field outside Newtownards.

The former health minister is also an unremunerated director of the hotel company and Scrabo Investments, as well as a member of the board of governors at Stranmillis Primary School, for which he receives no money and works one to two hours a month.

In the family members section, the UUP man admits he rents an office from a company in which his brother is the majority shareholder.

One of the SDLP’s South Belfast MLAs, Alasdair McDonnell, appears to have a busy life away from Stormont, and not just because he is also the constituency’s MP, for which he gets £64,766 a year for his 200 hours worked a month.

He works one hour a month in a partnership with one other person in a small retail travel agency. However, he receives no money for this, as according to the register, the company is not in profit.

Dr McDonnell also has many entries in the land and property section, with a small farm holding of 24 acres in Dundrod, a terraced house in Stranmillis for which rental income is received, his Lower Ormeau health centre and adjacent property, a London flat he rents out and a residential property in Glenariffe all coming under this category.

The SDLP representative has shares in clinical trials company, Medevol and is also a director of the company although he receives no money for the latter. Finally, Dr McDonnell also has health service and parliamentary pensions.

Alliance Party representative Anna Lo revealed she sits on the board of governors at Cranmore Integrated School, as well as several positions for which she receives no money – member of the trade investment group 48 Club; board position of the Prison Services Trust, patron of arts company Terra Nova Productions, and a member of charity Mencap’s fundraising committee, ‘social entrepreneurship’ company UnLtd’s awards advisory group and Gems NI’s board of directors.

Ms Lo also provides her office with stationery, equipment and furniture supplied “on occasions” by her husband’s company.

Conall McDevitt, the other South Belfast SDLP MLA, revealed several unremunerated interests, namely as a member of the Policing Board, for which he works an average of 20 hours a month, and a member of the GAA, the Institute of Directors and Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

The DUP’s Jimmy Spratt, who also sits as a Castlereagh councillor, revealed his £9,738 wages from the post, for which he works an average of 50 hours a month, as well as unremunerated positions on the board of governors of Moneyreagh Primary School and as chair of the Northern Ireland Joint Council for Local Government Services.

Mr Spratt is also joint owner of agricultural land in Comber for which he receives rental income and joint owner of a property in Sheffield. In addition, he receives a police pension and employs his wife as a part-time office manager.

Which leaves Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey, the only South Belfast MLA who answers “none” to every category on the list.

 

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