Does “Double-jobbing” equal “Double-staffers”?

Following a long-delayed reply to a FOI request, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has issued this list (PDF) of Northern Ireland’s MPs, their numbers of staff, their salary ranges, and total payments/cost since the election (inc. employers’ national insurance, pension contributions, maternity payments etc). Some of the totals will be lower if the appointments were not made immediately in May.

Several points I found noteworthy:

  1. The highest cost has been incurred by Jim Shannon (a total of 98,978 pounds for a total of 6 staff), followed by Jeffrey Donaldson (94282 for 4 staff), Lady Hermon (93214 for 3 staff) and Dr McDonnell (93,088 for 5 staff)
  2. The lowest cost by a long way, according to the figures supplied by the IPSA, is that incurred by Naomi Long (49582 for 4 staff)- however, the more eagle-eyed amongst you will also have noticed a definite mathematical non-match there! Anyway,  she is followed by Gregory Campbell (60,573 for 5 staff) and surprisingly enough (well, it was a surprise for me!) Ian Paisley Jr (64,367 for 4 staff)
  3. The absentee Sinn Fein MPs cleared respectively: Gildernew 77,448, Doherty 76,233, McGuinness 79,666 and Murphy 80,034. No mention of Gerry Adams.
  4. A total of 9 staff apparently earn more than 30,000 including (again, perhaps surprisingly) three Sinn Fein workers.

 My own interest was mainly with  the data of those who are the potential double-jobbers post 5thof May and how it tied in with the “support-staff” salaries paid out by the relevant Stormont MLAs.

So, for the period April 2010-December 2010:

Gregory Campbell paid out 16,848 pounds for “support staff salaries”

Pat Doherty: 29,222

Michelle Gildernew: 29,222

Dr McDonnell: 49,654

Martin McGuinness: 29,522

Conor Murphy: 15,515

Margaret Ritchie: 42,760

Sammy Wilson: 24061

McDonnell’s and Ritchie’s figures are pretty striking there and I wonder is there any reason why they are so comparatively high?

But the more important question is surely whether any overlap occurs in terms of the work performed by the Westminster and Stormont staff on behalf of the double-jobbers?

If so, then shouldn’t we also be looking to reduce correspondingly those staffing allowances?

  • ranger1640

    Am I right in saying that the member that has the largest amount, has several of that well known East Belfast Dynasty family working for him?????

  • joeCanuck

    Is there no limit on the number of paid staff? I can see the need for 3; a Constituency manager/election Agent, someone to answer the phone and take messages and someone else to follow up constituent queries. Why can the Lady get away with 3 but at least one other needs 6 staff. Perhaps they should be given a staffing allowance, somewhere aound the average currently spent.

  • iluvni

    I note my local DUP MP/MLA claims over £80k in expenses, yet has failed to respond to my recent correspondence.

  • Alias

    As someone looking at it from south of the border, I’m amazed that you can actually hire 4 staff for a mere 98,000.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Can you get figures for House of Lords members too O’Neil?

    Can I just point out that these figures show a corruption of the democratic process, as those double jobbing have addition resources to help them retain their seats.

    PS. Joe one think in defense, some Constituencies would require 2 offices, FST, Newry Armagh, East L’Derry. etc. to cover the area fairly.

  • Driftwood

    Jim Shannon surely cannot employ any of Peter Robinson’s family, as they are all ’employed’ at the trumpton assembly, on very high rates of pay, for the very well paid unelected Jonathan Bell, as well as their council electoral pay.
    The gravy train is now reaching incredible levels of corruption. With the DUPIRA engine room pouring taxpayers money on to the fire.
    Stormont should be twinned with Moldova. Though they have better anti- corruption policies.

  • Driftwood

    Alias, the Robinson family kids are ’employed’ in so many political set-ups, among other things, luckily none of them had to get an education for the real world. The DUP vision for the future.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s interesting that we never gave this a thought until the past year or two. You elected your MLA or MP and that was that. Then the revelation that some were bilking us for constituency office rents followed by the fact that double seats and double jobbing enabled at least one couple to join the millionaire club. What else is there?

  • Kevin Barry


    I did wet myself with your comment as it’s all too true. Up north we want to have good, well paid jobs, but anyone who does is clearly a charlatan and not worth it.

    Back on topic, the info doesn’t give too much away, a bit of a more detailed breakdown as to who was paid what and what for would be some what more helpful, otherwise we’re just clutching at straws and none the wiser

  • “Can you get figures for House of Lords members too O’Neil?”


    After another lengthy FOI!


    Back on topic, the info doesn’t give too much away, a bit of a more detailed breakdown as to who was paid what and what for would be some what more helpful, otherwise we’re just clutching at straws and none the wiser

    This is as far as a FOI is going to take you and even then this one was only “granted” after an internal review following a first refusal. There’s no way individuals and their specific salaries will be named under Data Protection legislation.