Stormont MLAs have been paid £15 million since the Assembly collapsed more than two years ago, a Westminster committee has heard.

Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith described the sum as “unacceptable” at the Northern Ireland affairs Committee, and said he plans to look at MLA salaries if there appears no prospect of the stalemate ending.

MLA salaries were cut by Mr Smith’s predecessor Karen Bradley in 2018.

He told the committee: “If it looks as if the Executive and Assembly do not get up and running, I will be looking at what we do on salaries.”

Sinn Féin has three MLAs in the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency, Jemma Dolan, Sean Lynch and Colm Gildernew.

In a statement they said they supported the Reaney Review which recommended the cut to wages and said they are committed to restoring Stormont on the basis of “equality and respect and genuine power sharing and with integrity at their core”.

“That requires intensive political talks, a commitment from the governments to implement previous agreements and an end to the DUP’s denial of rights.

“However, there has been no meaningful talks process since the DUP walked away from an agreement and away from talks in February 2018 as a result of their toxic pact with the British Tories and their support for the catastrophic Brexit agenda.

“Despite the collapse of the political institutions, all Sinn Féin MLAs continue to provide first-class constituency services.

“Whether Sinn Féin representatives are paid or not we will continue to work hard to deliver for the people we represent.”

DUP leader and MLA Arlene Foster hit out at any party which continues “to block the restoration of devolution”.

“The public are suffering because preconditions are being placed ahead of the wider community. Some parties have demonstrated within just the last week that they are not prepared to go back into the Assembly chamber and perform the job the public expects them to do.

“DUP MLAs remain prepared to restore the Assembly and Executive immediately and without precondition. We will also engage in any talks or process aimed at restoring devolution and allowing decisions to be taken on our hospitals, roads, environment and economy.

“Within my constituency, I remain heavily involved in constituency work on a daily basis whilst being assisted with a full time constituency office in Enniskillen. As the Leader of the DUP I have been heavily engaged in discussions and negotiations with the UK Government, and through this role I was pleased to deliver over £1billion of extra funding that is actively enhancing our roads, health and education system.

“The people of Northern Ireland deserve better and all parties should respond to the clear message coming forward from the community and commit to getting back to work inside the Assembly chamber.”

Ulster Unionist MLA, Rosemary Barton said that she is dealing with a host of issues in the constituency.

“Presently I have many constituent issues that I am dealing with, including benefit applications and appeals; farming queries, including agricultural appeals; business queries re. planning, regulations and other aspects; business and householder rates queries; Transport NI, NI Water, Education Authority and other Departments and Agency queries.

“Of course there is no meeting of the NI Executive, Assembly and its committees, which is shameful and unfair on the people of Northern Ireland. Therefore while there is no functioning Executive, unfortunately constituency issues have greatly increased.”

She said she still continues to carry out a number of functions as part of all-party Assembly groups which still operate despite the absence of a government.

Mr. Smith defended MLAs who were doing work in their constituencies and said reintroducing direct rule would be a “retrograde step”.