South’s MP holds most outside interests of local MLAs

By Scott Jamison

South Belfast’s MP holds the most outside interests of MLAs in the constituency while another MLA continues to receive nearly £30,000 a year for one to two hours of work a month for a construction company.

The latest register of members’ interests has revealed SDLP MLA Alasdair McDonnell, who also double jobs as the constituency’s MP, receives an annual wage of £64,766 for the Westminster role with an average of 200 hours worked a month.

On the latest Assembly members’ interests document, which was released last week and tells of outside interests of all 108 MLAs, he states, “My work as an MP representing constituents overlaps with my work as an MLA and in this respect it is therefore difficult to accurately breakdown the hours between the two roles.”

He also works one hour a month in a self-employed 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. He adds if any remuneration is ever received it will be registered.

Dr McDonnell also has several 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; a health centre and adjacent property in the Lower Ormeau; a London flat which is rented out and a residential property in Glenariffe currently being refurbished.

The SDLP man is also an unremunerated director of clinical trials company Medevol, a company in which he also holds shares, and is part of the health service and parliamentary pension schemes.

Meanwhile Ulster Unionist MLA Michael McGimpsey continues to receive a £28,500 salary for his position as director of North Down Construction Ltd, for which he works an average of one to two hours a month.

Mr McGimpsey also owns shares in the company as well as North Down Hotels, for which he is also a unremunerated director. According to the document, Mr McGimpsey owns three-quarters of an acre of a field outside Newtownards and is an unremunerated director of Scrabo Investments and an unremunerated member of the board of governors at Stranmillis Primary School, for which he works one   two hours a month.

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

SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt is an unremunerated member of the Policing Board, for which he works 20 hours a month, and is also an unpaid member of the GAA, Institute of Directors and Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Jimmy Spratt of the DUP reveals his annual wage as a Castlereagh councillor to be £9,738, a role for which he works 50 hours a month. Mr Spratt also sits on the board of governors at Moneyreagh Primary School, for which he receives no money and is chair of the Joint Council for Local Government Services. Although the latter is also unremunerated, he has his expenses covered.

Mr Spratt is 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.

Alliance Party representative Anna Lo sits on the board of governors at Cranmore Integrated Primary School, as well as having several unpaid interests – a member of trade investment group 48 Club; a member of charity Mencap’s fundraising committee; a member of Gems NI’s board of directors; a member of social entrepreneurship company UnLtd’s awards advisory group and a patron of arts company Terra Nova Productions.

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

Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey is the only South Belfast MLA who answers “none” to every category in the register.

 

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