05/01/2017 BBC Newsline


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05/01/2017

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The Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir has said

:00:00.:00:07.

unless Arlene Foster steps aside temporarily as First Minister.

:00:08.:00:13.

He was speaking after what were meant to be clear the air talks

:00:14.:00:16.

the DUP Economy Minister Simon Hamilton,

:00:17.:00:21.

on the failed heat incentive scheme.

:00:22.:00:24.

Mr O Muilleoir also described a DUP plan to deal with the crisis

:00:25.:00:27.

Our business correspondent Julian O'Neill has the details.

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The DUP had talked of a plan involving emergency legislation

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which would totally wipe out a projected ?490 million RHI

:00:47.:00:50.

overspend. The Finance Minister was initially sceptical about the plan,

:00:51.:00:55.

and help clear the air talks today with the economy minister. But

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afterwards, the Finance Minister was totally dismissive of what the DUP

:01:01.:01:07.

plan was. He said it was a sticking plaster, nothing but hype designed

:01:08.:01:10.

to save the political skin of the First Minister. We met at a frank

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meeting, but also bitterly disappointing. I left the meeting

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without a plan in my hand and I am told that when this plan arrives,

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despite all the hate in the media, it will not be a comprehensive plan

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to close down RHI. It will be an interim solution, a sticking

:01:30.:01:33.

plaster. In my view, this is not the time for sticking plasters. This RHI

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crisis shows no signs of easing. It is turning into something of a poker

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game of who will blink first. Today, the Finance Minister told me that as

:01:45.:01:48.

far as he is concerned, there is no alternative but for the First

:01:49.:01:53.

Minister to temporarily step aside. Be clear on this, if Arlene Foster

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does not step aside, they will not be an Executive, there will not be

:01:59.:02:03.

institutions for all of two work to build... And all the work, and from

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others have been working very hard to build bees and these

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institutions, but they cannot exist if Arlene Foster continues to play

:02:11.:02:14.

fast and loose with the rules and the DUP continue to disrespect the

:02:15.:02:16.

institutions and its corruption remains at the heart of government.

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The public deserve more and I think the DUP, for all of the hype,

:02:22.:02:27.

understand that. Can there be a fudge, a negotiated way out of this

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which sees Arlene Foster remain First Minister? No.

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The Department was meant to be delivering the budget for the next I

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mention here but this scandal is totally overshadowed everything

:02:43.:02:45.

here. The DUP's plan may arise in full detail next week, but even then

:02:46.:02:51.

the Finance Minister says it will take time to assess.

:02:52.:02:54.

Senior DUP figures have criticised one of their former MLAs

:02:55.:02:56.

for describing Arlene Foster's handling of the RHI scheme

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David McIlveen, who was once a DUP MLA, also says Mrs Foster

:03:00.:03:06.

is unlikely to lead the party into the next election.

:03:07.:03:08.

Senior DUP figures say Mr McIlveen does not represent

:03:09.:03:10.

Our Political Correspondent Stephen Walker reports.

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Once, they were political team-mates, but now David McIlveen

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has split ranks and told the Newsletter Arlene Foster

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has misjudged the public mood over the RHI scheme.

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He said the scandal has become an omnishambles and claims

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she will not lead the party into the next election.

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There is a deep misunderstanding at the minute, within the party,

:03:37.:03:40.

around the definition of humiliation and humility.

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And I think those two words are being mixed up,

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in that there seems to be some feeling that to show any

:03:50.:03:54.

form of contriteness around this issue

:03:55.:03:58.

People want humility, not humiliation.

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But David McIlveen's analysis is not shared by senior party figures.

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The groundswell of support within the DUP is for Arlene Foster

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and indeed that she is not an electoral liability,

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that she has been an electoral advantage to us,

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and the DUP strongly support Arlene Foster in her role

:04:22.:04:24.

and will give absolute support in continuing to do so.

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David McIlveen is not the first DUP member to criticise

:04:31.:04:32.

Last month, Johnathan Bell gave a dramatic interview

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to Stephen Nolan, and today, a former DUP councillor appealed

:04:40.:04:41.

to disgruntled party members to go public.

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They need now to come out and if they feel that this is not

:04:47.:04:50.

going the way it should for unionism, and it is not good

:04:51.:04:53.

for unionism, please come out and speak out against it.

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Even internally, in their own party, say something.

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Because to say nothing is going to get us nowhere.

:05:01.:05:03.

So, is the writing on the wall for the DUP leader?

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There is much political pressure on Arlene Foster,

:05:07.:05:08.

and today the Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, wrote in

:05:09.:05:12.

Arlene Foster says she will not step aside, but her political party has

:05:13.:05:27.

no consensus on what a fresh inquiry into RHI would look like.

:05:28.:05:37.

Her political opponents say that has to happen and there is no consensus.

:05:38.:05:46.

So, the New Year has begun the way the old one ended,

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with a story that every day brings fresh developments

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and a political stalemate that shows little sign of ending.

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A Portadown GP surgery that was facing closure

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after its last remaining doctor resigned has been given a lifeline

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after a new contractor was found to take over the practice.

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However the doctors union, the BMA, says surgeries

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across Northern Ireland are struggling to

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With three children and elderly relatives to help care for,

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Claire McConville-Walker is a fairly regular visitor

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to her doctors surgery in Portadown.

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This morning, she told me her fears that

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the medical practice could close after it lost its last doctor.

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Pretty much my whole family use the surgery and

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some are dependent on medication, and they need a regular GP in order

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to be given that medication to make sure that it is right.

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But I think a lot of it's for peace of mind, to know

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that there is a GP there who is knowledgeable

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of their conditions, who knows them,

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But this evening, some good news for Claire and her family,

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A new GP contract provider has been found

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to take over Bannview from early March.

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But recruiting GPs, particularly in rural areas,

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is a growing problem, and a Northern-Ireland-wide one.

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In County Antrim, the lone GP at this medical practice

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The Health and Social Care board says negotiations are still

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GP practices are busier than ever and

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it becomes harder to attract younger doctors to train as GPs.

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We have a situation where particularly in the

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west and in the south, we do not have enough doctors.

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So we are going to see an awful lot of practices close in

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the West, particularly in Fermanagh and Armagh.

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This will probably move forward to affect other counties

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It will be rural areas and small towns will lose

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their GP practice and we will be consolidating down

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Last autumn, the Health Minister promised more funding for

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GP services, including more training places for GPs.

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But it will be years before those doctors are ready to go

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That still leaves some practices in

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the short-term facing an uncertain time ahead.

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A Strabane mother who lost her teenage son and brother

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says those who're destroying life saving equipment

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Local search and rescue organisations are also concerned

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at the ongoing vandalism, and have called for it to stop.

:08:31.:08:33.

Here's our North-West reporter, Keiron Tourish.

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Over recent months, there has been concern here

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about the level of vandalism to life-saving equipment

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Local search and rescue organisations say

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there were around a dozen life belts installed,

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but now some of them have either been burned or removed.

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Lorraine lost two members of her family in drowning tragedies -

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her five-year-old brother Eddie in 1972,

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and on May 28th 2012, her 17-year-old son died in an accident

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She cannot understand why anybody would tamper

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These people that are doing this are mindless and are not thinking.

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Now it is the start of the new year and in

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the next five months, it will be even warmer weather.

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God forbid somebody, you know, in the warm weather,

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what happened to my son, the water is very appealing

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and God forbid somebody get into trouble

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and, you know, they might need these and they will not be there.

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This man's brother drowned in the river nine months ago.

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He now gives up his time to help one of the local search and

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It was very upsetting for everybody, the family, every family

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You do not know how it hurts unless you go through what we have

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went through and to see things like this happening,

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Those who have lost loved ones to the river,

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have stressed that this equipment is vital,

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especially when people are in a vulnerable position.

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They have urged those behind the vandalism to stop

:10:22.:10:24.

Now, he's a man more at home in a packed football stadium

:10:25.:10:34.

but this week the former World-Cup-winning Brazil manager

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onboard the 212 service from Londonderry to Belfast.

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Big Phil, as he's affectionately known,

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has been seen strolling around the two cities in recent days.

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Posing for a picture with the man who drove him

:10:50.:10:55.

Luiz Felipe Scolari caused a bit of a stir when those

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Goldline service realised a World-Cup-winning coach

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One of the passengers asked the former Brazil

:11:05.:11:07.

It is understood he was in Northern Ireland to visit his son,

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who is studying at a local university.

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The former Portugal and Chelsea boss led his home nation to glory

:11:19.:11:21.

He is currently in charge at the most valuable

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football team in China, Guangzhou Evergrande.

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As well as the bus station, he was also spotted

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Whilst it is not clear if Big Phil has plans to return

:11:32.:11:40.

the users of the 212 service will be keeping a keen eye out

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Now, with the weather forecast, here's Barra Best.

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It is certainly not as chilly tonight thanks to a lot of cloud.

:11:57.:12:02.

That is giving us some patchy light rain and drizzle at the minute.

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Through the early hours of Friday, heavier and persistent rain will

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come in from the Atlantic. Temperatures will stay at about 6

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degrees, for Norfrost to worry about tomorrow morning. It will be windy

:12:14.:12:18.

start, and will stay cloudy and damp but we hold the milder air. Cloud

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breezy start to the day to begin, outbreaks of rain, some of which

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will be heavy first. Lasting through much of the morning before it clears

:12:28.:12:31.

the way of the East Coast. A similar picture for much of Ireland if you

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are travelling. That weather will eventually push its way across the

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Irish Sea, affecting many areas of Britain through the day, with the

:12:38.:12:41.

exception of some central and south eastern areas, where we should stay

:12:42.:12:45.

dry with sunshine. But it will be cloudier and milder the further

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north and west. For us, by the middle of the afternoon,

:12:51.:13:00.

temperatures should reach 12 degrees, well above average for a

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time of year. It will stay grey, misty and murky, with some patchy

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light rain and drizzle continuing to come and go. It will stay much the

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same through tomorrow evening and overnight into Saturday, with the

:13:09.:13:10.

exception of the wet weather. It should clear away. Temperatures

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staying at seven or 8 degrees, what we would normally see budget. A lot

:13:13.:13:16.

of cloud on Saturday, the odd spot of wet weather but a good deal of

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dry weather. We hold onto the milder conditions on Sunday and Monday, but

:13:23.:13:25.

are at times with further patches of rain.

:13:26.:13:27.