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Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:-

“Having previously flushed out Caetriona Ruane for continuing to accept £55,000 pa  as Principal Deputy Speaker of an Assembly to which she did not belong, and embarrassed her into resigning, I have now through further Assembly Questions established these additional benefits reaped by Ms Ruane as a consequence of this financial rip off:-

* Even though she continued to draw £55,000pa in salary Ms Ruane also received in June 2017 a golden handshake, tax free, of £24,500 because she had ceased to be an MLA in January 2017. (AQW 62/17-22)

* While she continued to draw the £55,000pa salary the Assembly continued to make generous contributions of 14.4% of salary, namely £5,851.93, to her pension fund. (AQW 51/17-22)

* In consequence of these extra pension contributions made while she was not an MLA Ms Ruane’s lifetime pension will be boosted by an extra £812.77 every year. (AQW 53/17-22)

* In addition to the £55,000pa salary Ms Ruane also benefitted from the Assembly paying £5,124.68 in National Insurance contributions on her behalf. (AQW 50/17-22)

“The fact that Ms Ruane clung on for so long as Principal Deputy Speaker – till embarrassed into resignation by my exposure of her – while at these time getting a tax free £24,500 handshake as a retired MLA, means she was milking the public purse for all it could deliver – and now, too, we know, with the long term benefit of an enhanced pension.

“I renew my call on the uncharacteristically quiet Ms Ruane to at least pay back either the Principal Deputy Speaker salary or the tax free golden handshake. Even by her standards she should not expect herself to be entitled to both. The silence of her party on this issue is also telling.”

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