MLA defends his expenses bill…

Mark Robinson, the DUP MLA for South Belfast, who lives in Portstewart Bushmills, unsurprisingly came second top of the Assembly’s league table for drawn expenses (Donegal based Pat Doherty claimed just over three grand more), has defended his £18,000 bill:

“The Northern Ireland Assembly was sitting today and the record will show that I was present at the Assembly. I want to make it clear that my office remains open and I intend to continue to make representations on behalf of my constituents. I have been involved in Assembly business at Stormont today and was in my constituency office yesterday and early this morning.”

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  • pith

    That’s alright then. If he isn’t paid anything to be at Stormont or to be in his constituency office then it is only right that he receives a contribution towards his travel.

  • barnshee

    well these arseholes have to make hay while the sun shines -pile it up cuase they could be out of a job in nonember

  • Pete Baker

    Mick

    In the same year, 2004-5, Pat Doherty also claimed £11,519 travel expenses as an MP

  • pith

    “In the same year, 2004-5, Pat Doherty also claimed £11,519 travel expenses as an MP…”

    Here’s hoping someone will mention the other Robinsons by Post 4.

  • Rory

    Travel, it seems, does more than broaden the mind,
    it beefs up the bank account. I have noticed in the book lists, what with Bill Bryden and such, that travel writing can be lucrative – but £18K for a description of some journeys between Portstewart and Stormont?

    Perhaps he should follow in the example of Dervla Murphy and David (call me ‘Dave’) Cameron and get a bicycle.

    Unionists cannot complain about Pat Doherty’s claim however as according to their lights he is after all claiming for international travel.

  • Accuracy

    Mick,

    Have you even read the link?

    He said: “As I travelled from my family home, in Bushmills, to Belfast during the period this has considerably altered the journeys for which I claim from the Assembly.”

    Where do you get Portstewart from?

  • Mick Fealty

    fair cop…

  • dodrade

    Isn’t it about time we ended carpet bagging and insisted elected representatives must be resident in the constituency they represent?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    This story was covered several months ago, with more up-to-date figures obtained under the FoI Act by the Tele.

    Just thought you’d like to know…

  • Samwise

    Your right gonzo, David Gordon wrote a piece on it based on more up to date figures – this story came from the BBC last week for earlier figures. As I understand there may well be good personal reasons why the MLA is living on the North Coast at the minute, although £18k does sound excessive.

  • JohnEast Belfast

    How much do these guys get paid per mile ?

    Has anyone done the calcs ?

    Lets say its averages 45p per mile this equates to 40,000 miles in a year

    Busmills to Stormont is probably a round trip of 110 miles ?

    Thats 364 days a year ?

    ie he spent every day at his desk ?

    I know he had other constituency business but that is in South Belfast

    These figures should be thrashed out a bit more for clarity.

    Also there should be a rule that Mileage Expenses should be the lesser off

    – your house within the constituency
    – a central point within the constituency if you dont have a permanent home there

    ie if somebody represents an inner city constituency but chooses to live at the seaside then they should not expect the tax payer to pay for it.

  • Removed

    18k for mileagem, while other MLAs claimed nothing or less than a grand? I would like to see a breakdown of hsi travel expenses. Let’s see if the DUP discipline him – aren’t they always banging on about govt waste? And what about the 8th commandment guys? At least ask mark robinson to look it up in the Bible …

  • heres hoping

    Why do politicians get travel money to their place of work. Travel to or from Stormont should not be classed as travel. I live quite a distance from work and at times i need to travel but i get expenses from the office and back not from the house to the office and then on.

  • Because quite often their constituencies (where they are expected to live) are a long way away from their “place of work”.

  • heres hoping

    Travel to or from Stormont should not be classed as travel.

    sorry of course its travel but what i meant was its not at the expense of the company or in this case the taxpayer

  • anon

    Also take note of the cost to the taxpayer for those who need Police protection, that is not factored into these figures

  • paddyjoe

    who needs police protection?roger hutchinson?

  • Alan

    As a S Belfast constituent, I really resent this – at best he should claim from the office in Finaghy, not from home.

    There may be a reason to live in Bushmills beyond the usual, but his work shouldn’t pay for it. He knew what he was getting into when he stood for election.

    Time for claw back – just like the nurses who were overpaid as a result of Agenda for Change and who are now having the overpayment removed at source. Just like the tax credit claimants . . .

  • fair_deal

    MR hasn’t learnt the lesson when in a hole stop digging. However, I doubt if the voters of south Belfast will get a chance to punish him as my guess is he won’t be on the ballot.

  • moyle rover

    Last time I checked Bushmills was not the furthest point in Northern Ireland from Belfast. Major towns such as Enniskillen, Omagh or Strabane would be much further. Do these areas have no MLAs or if they do why are these expenses claims not much higher than Mr Robinson. Coincedentally why do the DUP have to bring someone from Bushmills to south Belfast? Bushmills is in Moyle district but I am certain this Bushmills resident has never stood for election here, why is this?

  • Moyle-

    He wouldn’t be the only outsider to represent a constituency:

    Ruane in South Down
    Paisley in North Antrim
    McGuinness in Mid Ulster
    Wells in South Down
    Doherty in West Tyrone
    Dodds in West Belfast
    Robinson in Strangford

    etc.

  • Upper Falls

    It is just a matter of time before this total waster is booted out of the DUP. He is wrecking the solid community work being carried out by the likes of Ruth Patterson and Christopher Stalford.

    The party won’t tolerate this sort of behaviour from any member.

    Furthermore he is NOT living in County Antrim.

  • londonderry_loyal

    I dont know how Mr Robinson will explain these expenses he has submitted! He has only made a mouth of himself unless he can show evidence of meetings/events attended on behalf of his constituency.

    All MLA’S should be given a standard expense based on their constituency and once that is spent thats it!

  • POL

    Should take a bus with the rest of the proletariat.