SPECULATION is growing that the DUP group at Stormont are to propose changing the name of the highly paid special advisors known as SPADS to SPUDS, in order to restore public confidence.
The move comes as party leader Arlene Foster escaped largely unscathed from the potentially damning Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Report, whose findings were recently presented by Sir Patrick Coghlan.
The same could not be said for her former SPAD, Andrew Crawford, whose behaviour was described as “totally unacceptable” in the report.
However the party is keen to put all that annoyance behind them and move on.
“Now that this RHI thingymagiggy is out of the way, we feel its time for a clean break with the past and that a rebranding is in order, to restore public confidence,” our DUP source revealed,
“We think SPUDS is a far better name for our special advisors, I mean they are decent aule spuds at the end of the day, putting themselves out day and daily for the good of the community.
“Obviously this won’t apply to Andrew Crawford who will always be that bad old SPAD, though he was completely heartbroken of course when Arlene told him.”
14 new SPUDS, if that is indeed what they will be called in future, were appointed to the new Executive back in January with a total annual salary of £876,498.
This was down 14% from £1,162,894 in 2017 a truly massive achievement, undoubtedly making them worthy of the name change.
The highest profile SPUD is former South Belfast MP Emma Little-Pengelly who takes home a cool £78,000.
TGL understands that Sinn Fein have agreed to support the proposal, with our source saying, “aw shur why not, we’ll agree to anything they want, for now, till we win the border poll and then we’ll show ’em.”