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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
DUP and SF accused of hypocrisy
The law was changed to allow two new advisors to be appointed
The DUP and Sinn Fein have been accused of hypocrisy after the law was changed to allow the appointment of two new special advisors for junior ministers.

The BBC has learned the parties asked ex-Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to make the appointments.

Both the UUP and SDLP intend to raise the issue when the assembly resumes.

Ex-Sinn Fein press officer Mark McLernon is working for junior minister Gerry Kelly, while Victoria Taylor is advising Ian Paisley Jr.

Their office refused to give details of salaries, but the cost is understood to be tens of thousands of pounds.

The law was changed through a perogative order signed by the secretary of state and rubberstamped by the Privy Council on 25 July, allowing no debate in either parliament or the assembly.

The SDLP and Ulster Unionists say this is astounding giving that the DUP and Sinn Fein opposed the appointment of junior ministers as a waste of money in 1999.

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