Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“Having asked the Assembly Commission about the cost of the Irish/English interpretation service introduced following an Assembly vote in June 2021, I have established that the cost of the same to the public purse has been £117,075.41. Remarkably, this expenditure has been run up while the Assembly hasn’t even been sitting for more than a year!
“The Assembly employs three members of staff – one permanent and two agency – to translate speeches in Irish into English in an Assembly where everyone adequately speaks English and which doesn’t currently operate. The permanent member of staff earns £39,243.11 while the cost of agency staff up to 13th January 2023 was £77,832.30.
“While people find their personal finances under ever increasing pressure it is scandalous that such significant sums of money are being spent on a service which wouldn’t be needed even if the Assembly were to be sitting.
“I have no doubt that there will be many in Northern Ireland who will see this as yet further evidence that we would simply be better off without the Assembly at all.”