‘They are playing games at our expense and still getting wages’

Belfast voters are beginning to notice a lack of MLAs in Stormont.

While Ernest Brown, 55, believes everyone is affected by the absence of a leader, he would prefer that contentious issues were resolved before power-sharing is restored.

“I wouldn’t want her back without sorting things out like protocol,” he said.

“I don’t think any other country in the world would have a border between them. It makes no sense.

“I think if it gets really bad Westminster will step in.

“If they can come in and overshadow people’s opinions about abortion, I’m sure they can put money in the pockets of people who need it, but the political parties have to come together.

“Of course there has to be a compromise, which I think has already been partially achieved.

“They’re all playing games while everything goes up in price, but I’m not sure there’s anything Stormont can do about it.”


Ernest Brown

Kornelijah Sermuksnyte, 25, who is originally from Lithuania but has lived here for six years, has yet to feel the effects but expects that to change.

“If people vote for you, you should do what you tell them to do. You should fulfill the promises you made to get elected,” she explained.

The hotel clerk is concerned that Northern Ireland is heading for stormy seas without anyone in Stormont able to stabilize the ship.

“If I look at it from the hospitality perspective, the industry is suffering so much,” she said.

“People are starting to complain about rising prices and it’s only going to get worse.

“Smaller companies will be hit harder. So many are starting to close.”


Kornelia Sermuksnyte

Ashley Donaldson, 34, is also concerned that there is no one to help weather the developing financial storm.

“The fact that she [MLAs] getting paid is ridiculous. They’ve been out for so long. I couldn’t do that and still get paid. Nobody else gets the full reward for doing nothing,” she said.


Ashley Donaldson

Her sister Tina Donaldson, 39, was excluded from the support programs because she is a working parent.

“I’m just over the income limit, so I’m not eligible for help,” she explained.

“I have three teenage boys at home and they [prices for] Grocery, gas and electricity are crazy right now.”


Tine Donaldson

Musician Kenny Robinson (56) is particularly affected by the stalemate.

“Council passed legislation introducing reinforcement licences, but as Stormont is not in session that has not been implemented,” he said.

“Since I don’t use an amp, I think the sooner that happens, the better.

“It will stop 40 buskers on a Saturday instead of three or four of us because Belfast is too small.

“I love all musicians and I love amplification, but some of them are way too loud and people like me get drowned out.

“I wouldn’t want to work all day in a store with a rock band outside.”


Kenny Robinson

David Orr, 61, who runs a family butcher shop, is concerned about tariffs and business support initiatives.

“There’s a big pot of money there and nobody’s there to spend it,” he said.

“They play games at our expense. The fact that they are still getting paid should sicken most people.”

The businessman added that his energy bills have increased by 40% to almost £1,500 a month.


David Orr

For Lucy Adair, 22, seeing MLAs in the chamber was kind of an anomaly.

“Most of our young adult life has been without government,” she said.

“I have been able to vote since 2018. When I was old enough to be interested in government, she wasn’t there.

“I would notice more if they actually showed up.” ‘They are playing games at our expense and still getting wages’

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