Who picks up the tab for a (potentially) pointless election?

There’s been talk from the NIO that if the negotiations crash and burn on his deadline, a new election may have to be called before an Assembly be formed. Accordingly Julian Robertson, leader of the Conservatives in Northern Ireland, emailed Slugger yesterday. Whilst he remains sceptical that the plug will be pulled on 26th March, he nevertheless has some interesting questions for the Secretary of State for Wales, etc..

Will political parties who contested the election in good faith be able to claim their election expenses back from the government? How can we be expected to contest elections for an Assembly which is closed down after 18 days? Will we be expected to fund another election in 18 months time when the Assembly is to be resurrected? Surely we are being priced out of democracy?

I think we should be told!