Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLAs claimed £6,200 in travelling expenses to Stormont over a 13 month period it can be revealed. The expenses are spread equally across four of the five constituency MLAs, namely Sean Lynch, Jemma Dolan, Colum Gildernew of Sinn Fein and Rosemary Barton of the UUP.

Arlene Foster of the DUP, who is the remaining MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, had no expenses for travel to Stormont as her travel is under the control of the PSNI. A spokesperson for the DUP stated:

“Obviously Arlene recieves PSNI protection and her travel is organised by them. In terms of cost I don't believe the PSNI make any comment on those issues.”

It has been almost two years since an executive has sat at Stormont but MLAs still travel to take part in meetings and to meet working groups, civil srevants and representatives from both governments.

UUP MLA Rosemary Barton, vented her frustration that no executive was sitting but did say that it was important that assembly members continued to travel to Stormont.

“I wish to make clear that I believe the Executive and Assembly should be in place and operational. The people of Northern Ireland are being disadvantaged by not having a government and parliament that is sitting and taking decisions,” Mrs Barton stated before adding:

“Given that we are still MLAs, it is important that we continue to be briefed on important matters of public concern, this is often carried out by charities, lobbyists, constituents and individuals. As MLAs we also need to discuss these matters with Department officials.”

In a press release Sinn Fein stated that travel is required to Stormont “because it is still used for public meetings, events, stakeholder engagements and cross-party forums such as all-party working groups.”

“Sinn Féin MLA’s continue to provide a first class constituency service including regular and sustained engagement with Stormont-based departmental officials on behalf of constituents and public service requirements,” the spokesperson continued.

“Key government departments such as Health are headquartered at Stormont and meetings with British and Irish Government representatives and officials also take place there.”

Travel expenses to Stromont are calculated not from the home address of the MLA but rather on a constituency basis. A central point in a constituency is used by all MLA as the starting point for all journeys which is why the amount of travel expenses claimed is equal among the four MLAs who claimed from Fermanagh and South Tyrone.