Northern Ireland

New DUP MLA Emma Pengelly to get SPAD severance pay

Jimmy Spratt, Emma Pengelly, Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Emma Pengelly, second left, formerly worked as a special advisor in First Minister Peter Robinson's department

The DUP have confirmed their new South Belfast MLA is to receive a severance payment from her previous job as a special advisor.

The Irish News reported that Emma Pengelly, who was co-opted into the assembly seat, was to receive the payment.

She used to work in the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers.

Special advisors are civil servants that are appointed by ministers to work on party political matters.

'Contractual obligation'

A DUP spokesperson said: "Emma Pengelly receives a severance payment in accordance with the terms and conditions of her contract of employment.

"Mrs Pengelly will receive her severance payment from her former employer in due course as it is a contractual obligation to resign upon having become identified as an election candidate."

The new MLA will contest the Stormont election scheduled for next May.

Image caption Jim Allister does not believe that Mrs Pengelly should receive a severance payment

While the exact amount has not been published, special advisors who have been in the job at least four years and leave the post under these circumstances are entitled to a severance payment of six months' salary.

Mrs Pengelly's annual salary was just under £92,000. As an MLA she will earn £48,000 a year.

The TUV leader Jim Allister has said Mrs Pengelly should not take the severance payment.

More on this story