Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin calls for inquiry into Conall McDevitt payments

Sinn Féin has called for the Northern Ireland Assembly authorities to investigate payments to a company set up by the wife of an assembly member.

Conall McDevitt, SDLP, claimed more than £14,000 for research and secretarial work carried out by JM Consulting, his wife's firm.

Sinn Féin says Mr McDevitt should return the money, which was paid to four academics.

Mr McDevitt says his wife did not personally receive any of the money.

For 2010 and 2011 JM Consulting was paid significant sums of money for what was described as 'research and secretarial' work.

JM Consulting is Joanne Murphy Consulting - she is a Queen's University academic and also Mr McDevitt's wife.

But according to the assembly register for both years, when asked if any family member had benefited from office expenses Mr McDevitt said no.

That statement has now been amended and the register now states: "My wife has an interest in a company that has provided research services to me in my capacity as an MLA from March 2010 until November 2011".

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