Special Spotlight


Special

In this special edition, Mark Carruthers chairs a debate, with guests Arlene Foster, Raymond McCartney, Conall McDevitt, Mike Nesbitt and David McWilliams.


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Transcript


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Hello, and welcome to Spotlight Special. As ever, we have invited

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an impressive panel of movers and shakers to discuss the issues of

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the day with our studio audience. Arlene Foster is the Minister for

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enterprise, trade and investment at Stormont and a DUP MLA for

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Fermanagh and south Tyrone. Raymond McCartney is an MLA, Mike Nesbitt

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is his party's economy spokesman and a former Victims Commissioner.

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Conall McDevitt lost out to his fellow South Belfast MLA by a

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narrow head in last weekend's SDLP leadership race. Is his party's

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spokesman on policing and education and finally, David McWilliams is a

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Dublin-based economist, broadcaster and best-selling author whose views

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on the demise of the Celtic tiger and the crisis in the eurozone area

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are widely sought in Ireland and beyond. That's our line-up for

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tonight's Spotlight Special. APPLAUSE.

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Now, as always, tonight's questions have been chosen by members of our

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audience but you can also have your say at home. You can text your

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comments throughout the programme. You can also phone and e-mail us

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and you can tweet comments to us. The details are on the screen.

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Calls cost up to 5p per minute from most landlines, calls from mobiles

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may cost more. Our first question is from Karl, who is a student from

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Belfast. Given the situation in Europe and Ireland what's more

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likely, a united Ireland or united Europe? OK, off the back, of course,

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of financial turmoil in Europe and news this evening that the Italian

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Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is to resign once he gets a package

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for tackling the Italian situation agreed in the parliament. Arlene

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Foster, that really has just happened very recently, within the

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last few hours. What about the wider situation, and implications

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for us on this island. United Ireland or Europe? I don't think

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either is going to happen any time soon, I don't think either are

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going to happen, because the united Europe ideal came about through the

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federalism issue and I am glad to say that the UK stayed out of the

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eurozone. There are many here who wanted the kufplt to go into the

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eurozone, we have the stability of sterling at present. What you are

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seeing across the eurozone are countries strugglingling with the

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Sovereign debt their countries have and we should be concerned about

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that here in in Northern Ireland because it will have an impact on

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us here whether Greece defaults, whether the Italians default,

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because there are a lot of companies who are - a lot of banks

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that have invested in those countries and that will have an

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impact on us here in Northern Ireland. A lot of our companies do

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business with those countries as well and that will have an impact

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in relation to our export strategy which I have been pushing very

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strongly, as well. Aren't we all being dragged into the middle, into

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the European centre, if not politically, certainly

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economically? Under the control, effectively of Germany? Well, I

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think it's very interesting to see what our Prime Minister was saying

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today about Germany and the fact that the Germans are standing back

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from the eurozone bail-out and very much a need for Germany to get

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involved in that eurozone bail-out, to take responsibility. Because

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Germany is the main player in all of those interests right across

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Europe, whether it's Greece or Italy. But you are right t will

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have an impact in Northern Ireland, but we should be glad we are not in

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the eurozone, we will be affected by everything going on there and

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that's to the second part of the question in relation to the chill

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wind we have been feeling in Northern Ireland, in respect of

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what's happened in the Republic of Ireland, be that from our small

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businesses feeling very sore about not being able to export and get,

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as you know, it's our closest export destination, and one that we

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have been feeling sore about because a lot of those small

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companies haven't been able to export or indeed haven't been paid

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by companies in the Republic of Ireland and it is a huge difficulty

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for us, never mind the access to finance and the banking

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difficulties as well which David will want to touch on, I am sure.

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want to hear from Conall McDevitt. United Ireland, Europe? We know how

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we will get a united Ireland, because there is going to be

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referendum and if the people vote they'll have it. The real issue

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around Europe is there's never been a greater need for Europe to unite,

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for Governments to unite in a common purpose, to lay down a new

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law across Europe, whether it's inside the eurozone or whether it's

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on the fringes of the eurozone like the British pound is and this is

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all it is, on the fringes and that new law needs to be this: It needs

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to be that never again will we allow governments, national

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governments or a union like the European Union to be run through

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the back door by corrupt bankers. Because that is what has us where

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we are. What has us where we are is not a failure for once of politics,

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it's a failure of desperately bad and greedy banking. A financial

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system that corrupted itself and brought, as of tonight, at least

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three governments down, possibly more. Surely it's a political

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failure, managed badly by politicians across Europe. We have

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lost two Prime Minister this is week alone in Greece and now Italy.

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You can't say it's not a political failure, it is. Let me be honest,

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the regulatory system failed, of course it did, and the UK

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Government had this light touch regulation in London to attract the

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world's biggest banks and it failed Europe. The UK Government's light

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touch regulation didn't just fail the UK, it failed the whole of the

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European Union but the real corruption at the heart of this is

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outside of Government, it's in the back offices of money trading and

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other types of trading and it isn't until governments unite and resolve

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to change the rules of the game so as we can unite Europe around its

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people, rather than around banks that we won't come out of this mess.

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David McWilliams? Three issues going on. There's an economic

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problem, a debt problem, and a leadership problem. The economic

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problem is there's no growth in Europe. Growth slowed down. Once

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growth slows down all bets are off. Because you can't pay your debt.

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Consequently then off growth problem, plus a debt problem and

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that's typically fixed by political leadership, but what you have with

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respect to Germany and France and the rest of Europe is no political

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leadership. So you take those together, you then have people like

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Papandreou saying if we have no leadership in Europe why don't we

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go to people in Greece and the elite in Europe, France and Germany,

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show their true colours last Thursday by saying no way will we

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go to the people most affected by these decisions. So, for many

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people, both let's say in the Republic of Ireland and other

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European members, who was an unusual move last Thursday because

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what it did do for the first time is Sarkozy and Merkel said if you

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want an opinion on this Greece, the opinion has to be are you going to

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be in the euro or not? Rather than defuse the situation, they actually

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amplified the situation. Now, what the politicians don't want people

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to know is that at every single phase of this European crisis,

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every rescue package is actually a bail-out of private, professional

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investors by taxpayers, the vast majority of whom never took out the

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loans in the first place. APPLAUSE. The minute you are afraid of

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democracy, the people, it freaks out others. For example, the

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financial markets who say hold on a second f they're not prepared to go

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to the people, what we are going to have is yet another shunting on of

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the debt to somebody else. Does that all mean, very briefly, that

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we are moving towards greater European Union? Whether we like it

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or don't like it, is that an inevitability? There's no appetite

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in Europe, popular appetite, for greater fiscal integration. We have

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had four plebicites in years. Netherlands, France, Ireland all

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voted against further integration. There is a sense and disconnect

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between the top of Europe and the people and there is a sense on most

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people that they don't want further integration and that's before the

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crisis. Think about how Germany would vote if asked do you want to

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write an open cheque indefinitely for Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal,

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the Republic of Ireland? It's not going to happen. What does it mean

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for people in Northern Ireland, in terms of where they should be

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looking at the moment? Those want to look towards London, hitch their

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wagon to the Bank of England and to the Treasury in London. There are

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are others who say we should be looking at Dublin. That would take

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a serious doze of of nose-holding for a lot of people. I like that

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expression! Of all the things that Gordon Brown did, and he did many

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stupid things, one of the deliverest things was to do a

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classic Whitehall ruse on the euro. Put up five tests and - he played

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for time, he did the sensible thing, let's figure out how this works out.

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What he has been vindicated in is that the first crisis, major crisis

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of the euro, has not been handled well. I believe that Britain is

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better outside it. OK. Mike Nesbitt, you are your party's economy

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spokesman. I believe it's moving in a different direction to what we

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are trying to do in Northern Ireland, it's a clash what we do is

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he Assembly is legislate, and enable people to be different and

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diverse. Europe seems to want to homogenise everybody and I don't

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think the people of Europe want it any more, if they did. If you came

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down to my constituency, you wouldn't find a single fisherman

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who was grateful for what Europe does for the fishing industry.

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Would you be pushed to find a single farmer and we have some of

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the best farmland in the whole of Europe Europe who is grateful to

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the European Union and we get something like �300 million a year

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out of Europe for single farm payments. We also get a lot of

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money for cohesion. We have had three peace programmes worth

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hundreds of millions of euros. Yet, the appreciation of Europe isn't

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there, so there is a fundamental issue and perhaps Europe would do

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better to do a little less, better. Do you separate out the political

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unity or what David referred to as fiscal unity, they're not terribly

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closely linked? People used to look at Europe and say they were linked

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and it was Germany, France, Spain, Italy who were all pulling in the

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same direction and it is now abundantly clear they are not.

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Let's go back to the question, it's about what is more likely here, a

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:12:12.:12:26.

The opportunity for Europe uniting is diminishing by the day. What has

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been thrown up his around economic sovereignty. The sovereign

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governments are being undermined by events outside their control. It is

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important that that issue is raised. Who has the right to choose the

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:12:56.:12:58.

political leadership? That should be one of the issues that we

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address. The people should be sovereign. They should decide.

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you think that that either of government is weakened because they

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had to take money from the UK government? They are weakened

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because in a time of austerity they are going to bail out other

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countries. Instead of pumping the money back into the economy the am

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now going to give it to other countries. A quick word? Regarding

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the bailout from Britain, the problem for Britain was that one of

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the banks have a high exposure and the calculation was it was better

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to make a down-payment on that and hopefully get it back than write it

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all off. It was good business for the Treasury. I want to get some

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views from the audience. Let us go to the person who asked the

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question. Some people are washing rather than seeing what is more

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likely. It shows there is a clear divide in Northern Irish politics.

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Thank you. Of the two options, I'd do not think either will happen. In

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Northern Ireland we need to create jobs so that we can control our own

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:14:57.:15:00.

destiny. Two quick comment. There are 27 countries in the European

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Union. All countries in this heat union it should Shea goods - back

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trade goods with all other countries. This is why the European

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Union is in crisis. All the countries are not working together.

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:15:29.:15:30.

Thank you. My cousin has lived in Greece for many years. They say

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that prices have gone up ever since the joined Europe. Next question.

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Can we afford to give 60 million to encourage prison officers to

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retire? That package was announced today. Some people think it is

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attractive. The idea is to get people to take voluntary redundancy.

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Raymond McCartney - �60 million, can we afford it? It is something

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which we have to do. It is well known that there is a need for

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reform. It is well accepted across northern Ireland that the cost of

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:16:27.:16:27.

other prisons is too high. This will ensure that we have a prison

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service fit for the 21st century. For too long the emphasis on our

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prisons was around security. For too long there was no

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rehabilitation processes. We find that many people who leave our

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prisons are reoffending. In the long term a you are laying down the

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foundations. There will be long- term gains. You see �60 million is

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worth paying if it achieves what you see needs to be achieved?

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real terms that is the price that needs to be paid. Some people may

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feel that is too generous and there is an idea at around that. But the

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package is necessary if we are going to reform the system. That

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reform is necessary. What if enough prison officers do not volunteer to

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leave under this package? It is wrong to report the size what may

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happen. There are a number of months for prison staff to take up

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the offer. If the offer is not taken up then we find ourselves in

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another place. Reduce support compulsory redundancies? We need to

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change the culture of our prisons. If the ball on to the process does

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:18:05.:18:08.

not work then we find ourselves in a new situation. OK. The members of

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the Prison Service did suffer a lot in the last 29 years. There are

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many members of the Prison Service today who are facing threats and a

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fat to move homes. If the scheme is to work it has to be unattractive

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scheme. Initial proposals were not attractive. We believe that this is

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moving in the right direction. We believe that a voluntary scheme is

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the right way. We would not support a compulsory scheme. We believe

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that people must want to move on. We do not want to be in a situation,

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a situation that we found within the police, and that is the

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situation of being short staffed. It is important that we have the

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staff. You were not short staffed. There was not their experience

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there. You are saying no compulsory redundancies? It has to be

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attractive to facilitate officers to move. A lot of teachers who have

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been made redundant this year will look at this package and wonder.

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is not the same. We all agree that reform is needed. But this seems to

:19:38.:19:48.
:19:48.:19:51.

be building the lily. This is a political deal. A lot of people

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will wonder if that is fair. Do you not think that there is a

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recognition that these officers have lived under for the last 14

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years? This is 2011. Do you not accept that there are still person

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under threat in the prison service today? I never said that there were

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not people. We have to approach all these decisions with fairness and

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equity. That is what we're doing. If you are facing cutbacks,

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teachers are losing their jobs, they will not get this deal. We

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will take a close look at this. I am not comfortable sitting here

:20:32.:20:38.

looking at a very enhanced package for one small section of the public

:20:38.:20:43.

service when other sections of the public service are not getting this

:20:43.:20:51.

deal. David but Williams, it is also an economic question, because

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the question is can we afford to give �60 million? Money is involved.

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Sometimes when you come to Belfast to do not expect that answers you

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get. The Sinn Fein spokesperson was saying it is a good thing to

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eradicate the memory of the Prison Board. Arlene said something

:21:16.:21:22.

similar. They are on the same side for different reasons. I am not

:21:22.:21:27.

sure if you can afford it, but when I look at the rest of the UK and

:21:27.:21:35.

the austerity that is being imposed there, it would seem to be that to

:21:35.:21:40.

give special service to one particular group is at odds with

:21:40.:21:47.

what is happening to the rest of you. Teachers were not targeted by

:21:47.:21:54.

the IRA. The ought school bus driver was targeted by the IRA. --

:21:54.:22:02.

the occasional school bus driver. A friend of mine had a very bad

:22:02.:22:10.

stroke over 10 years ago and that has never been recognised as

:22:10.:22:14.

following riots duty in the Maze prison. As we make this transition

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we should be as generous as possible to those who put

:22:19.:22:25.

themselves in harm's way. Is this a generous? It is less expensive than

:22:25.:22:32.

the Patten proposals. I feel sorry for prison -- for police officers

:22:32.:22:42.
:22:42.:22:43.

who will look enviously at this deal. What we have not yet seen his

:22:43.:22:48.

that some of the people who take this deal will only be 50 years old.

:22:48.:22:52.

One of the things that the police deal recognised was the need for

:22:52.:22:56.

rehabilitation and retraining. I would like to see that extended to

:22:56.:23:06.
:23:06.:23:08.

prison officers. That would entail education and a mental help. This

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is the 24th anniversary of the Enniskillen bombing. You cannot

:23:15.:23:21.

just airbrushed this. For too long there was an emphasis on security

:23:21.:23:30.

policy. Why? Because of the IRA. The reason I said there was an

:23:30.:23:40.
:23:40.:23:40.

emphasis on security is because the we are prisons were run, their debt

:23:40.:23:49.

ratios were the highest. But you were responsible for it.

:23:49.:23:53.

recognise why there was a security issue in prisons. That has now

:23:53.:24:03.
:24:03.:24:07.

moved on. We cannot perpetuate that situation. An independent report

:24:07.:24:16.

has accepted that. If we do not change this we are wasting money

:24:16.:24:21.

every day of the week. I want to go back to Declan who also had an

:24:21.:24:25.

economic emphasis on his question. What do you make of the answers?

:24:25.:24:30.

There are a number of points. There is a projection for the next 10

:24:30.:24:37.

years. Projections can go anywhere. The last projection was that the

:24:37.:24:44.

economy was doing well and good for we are now. 60 million could be

:24:44.:24:52.

better spent on a dementia unit. We have no money for suicide awareness.

:24:52.:24:56.

Schools are being closed. This is an issue that has to be tackled and

:24:56.:25:03.

it will cost money. There is nothing to say that the prisoners

:25:03.:25:07.

who come out will not reoffend. This idea that every prison officer

:25:07.:25:17.

will be dead wrong -- dead on. There is a discrepancy between the

:25:17.:25:21.

private sector and the public sector. Thousands of people in the

:25:22.:25:24.

private sector are losing their jobs and there is no enhancement

:25:24.:25:30.

for those people. All we are hearing about his exceptional

:25:30.:25:35.

circumstances. Every unique family that loses a job is in exceptional

:25:35.:25:45.
:25:45.:25:46.

circumstances. Is that there be to treat it? I feel sorry for all the

:25:46.:25:50.

prison officers that died and were injured. At �60 million is very

:25:50.:25:59.

high. It is small compared to what was paid for the policing issue.

:25:59.:26:03.

would pay for a hospital. You do not be it is acceptable question

:26:03.:26:13.
:26:13.:26:18.

mark I do not. We will leave it there. Now to our next question.

:26:18.:26:26.

straightforward question. Does storm and need an opposition?

:26:26.:26:32.

of as are probably wondering what Stormont is for these days. We have

:26:32.:26:39.

still not seen any decent legislation after six months. I

:26:39.:26:45.

lost their head with this today! What I worry about is the fact that

:26:45.:26:49.

there seems to be not enough accountability. There seems to be

:26:49.:26:55.

not enough power with the people. The time has come, because when we

:26:55.:27:01.

next go to elect an Assembly, the time has come to have an honest

:27:01.:27:06.

debate about a system that is capable of being accountable. We

:27:06.:27:09.

can talk about that in the years ahead. But I do think we are

:27:09.:27:13.

reaching the point where we need to get more and to storm it than just

:27:13.:27:17.

stability. In order to get more out of storeman than just stability, to

:27:17.:27:23.

get it to work for the people, it will need to be better held to

:27:23.:27:33.
:27:33.:27:33.

Your new partier leader -- party leader said that the regime at the

:27:33.:27:37.

moment, which is headed up by Sinn Fein and the DUP is like Afghan

:27:37.:27:41.

warLords dividing up the spoils, was he right, is it as bad as that?

:27:41.:27:46.

A lot of us inside the Assembly really do feel that this is a two-

:27:46.:27:50.

party Government with another three parties being put in there to make

:27:50.:27:58.

the two big ones lock good. If I could finish by the reality of life

:27:58.:28:03.

at Stormont. We don't have seven years into devolution a strategy to

:28:03.:28:07.

tackle sectarianism. The answer is opposition. Not necessarily, we

:28:07.:28:10.

have the system we have, Mark, that's the system the people voted

:28:10.:28:13.

for when they voted in the Good Friday Agreement F we are going to

:28:13.:28:17.

change the system to be fair to us all we need to agree to change it

:28:17.:28:20.

all of us, what I am saying is I am not afraid of having an honest

:28:20.:28:23.

debate about getting a better system than the one we have today

:28:23.:28:26.

but we are not going to run away from our responsibilities and our

:28:26.:28:29.

duty and our opportunity to represent our people around that

:28:29.:28:33.

table. Might that new system involved you and the Ulster

:28:33.:28:36.

Unionists and maybe the Alliance Party forming an official

:28:36.:28:40.

opposition? It Might involve me and other people forming the Government

:28:40.:28:43.

and it might be a more accountable Government and one capable of

:28:43.:28:48.

agreeing a programme before it sits down. You would need to win an

:28:48.:28:53.

awful lot more seats. Not one like this one which six months in

:28:53.:28:56.

doesn't have a programme for Government. Mike Nesbitt? I don't

:28:56.:29:00.

want to be in opposition, I don't want to the Ulster Unionists to be

:29:00.:29:03.

in opposition, the principle is good. 13 years ago the aim of the

:29:03.:29:06.

Good Friday Agreement was to be inclusive, to get everybody

:29:06.:29:12.

exclusively into the political process and to do that you had to

:29:12.:29:17.

build an exceedingly big political cake. And that, I believe has

:29:17.:29:20.

worked 13 years on. The institutions are pretty stable. But

:29:20.:29:23.

they have yet to really deliver, particularly on the big ticket

:29:23.:29:26.

issues like the sports stadium, like the reform of public

:29:26.:29:31.

administration. So, if it's all stable and it's mature, the logical

:29:31.:29:37.

next step is to say we will go from mandatory coalition to volume

:29:37.:29:40.

Torrey -- voluntary coalition with opposition T works in just about

:29:40.:29:44.

every country in the world, why not for stphus why are we so better

:29:44.:29:47.

than everybody else we want to do it differently? So, that's an

:29:47.:29:50.

interesting thought, Arlene, is it? You know, I am sitting here

:29:50.:29:55.

listening to the Ulster Unionist party and the SDLP who gave us

:29:55.:29:58.

mandatory coalition in - these were the two guys that created the

:29:58.:30:04.

system. In actual fact, the DUP had to take these guys to court to get

:30:04.:30:07.

Ministerial papers back in 2001, so it's very interesting listening to

:30:08.:30:11.

these two guys who when it was working for them, when they were

:30:11.:30:14.

the two largest parties they were happy with it, they were OK with it.

:30:14.:30:17.

Now they're the two smaller parties, hold on a second, we are not that

:30:17.:30:21.

happy with it. You know, the DUP's been asking for reform of the

:30:21.:30:27.

system since 1998. We asked for reform in 1998, at the time of the

:30:27.:30:30.

Belfast Agreement. We wanted more accountability in the Belfast

:30:30.:30:34.

Agreement. It's why we went to the Leeds Castle talks, it's why we

:30:34.:30:37.

went to the St Andrews agreement and brought about accountability

:30:37.:30:41.

through the system of Government here and can I say, there are far

:30:41.:30:44.

too many Government departments as a result of the Belfast Agreement,

:30:44.:30:49.

there are too many MLAs as a result of the agreement. Let's get it

:30:49.:30:51.

sorted out, let's get a smaller Government for Northern Ireland

:30:51.:30:53.

because we need a smaller Government for Northern Ireland and

:30:53.:30:56.

the people want a smaller Government for Northern Ireland. I

:30:56.:31:00.

am not disagreeing but I am saying the hypocrisy of you two talking

:31:00.:31:05.

about... Hypocrisy from the DUP... I don't know what you are laughing

:31:05.:31:08.

about. The question asked does Stormont need an opposition, well I

:31:08.:31:12.

think that's the question for those who want to form opposition. But as

:31:12.:31:17.

the system is designed, then it doesn't appear to be any place for

:31:17.:31:20.

opposition, if people want to go into opposition that's their choice,

:31:20.:31:24.

but it's interesting in the first number of years and Arlene has said

:31:24.:31:29.

this, there was never any talk of need for opposition or encouraging

:31:29.:31:32.

parties to go into opposition. The only thing that's changed in the

:31:32.:31:38.

intervening years is that the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists are no

:31:38.:31:41.

longer... It's because of the way you are operating the system.

:31:41.:31:46.

what happened Mark, and this has been exposed, at a time when this

:31:46.:31:49.

was designed, the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists thought they they

:31:50.:31:56.

would be the lead parties. The people have decided that the DUP

:31:56.:31:59.

and Sinn Fein are now the lead parties and these two parties just

:31:59.:32:02.

don't seem to want to accept it. What they do is they carp from the

:32:02.:32:05.

sides F they want to go into opposition, the opportunity is

:32:05.:32:10.

there. What else changed? Do you not remember those years ago the

:32:10.:32:19.

DUP said they would never, never, speak to you? Revert to type, type

:32:19.:32:29.
:32:29.:32:30.

- revert to type, Mike. Final point from Raymond, then David. The need

:32:30.:32:34.

for for an opposition is the choice and desire of the parties. If the

:32:34.:32:37.

two parties, or any party want to go into opposition they can do it.

:32:37.:32:42.

The only thing that's changed up to March 2007 is the fact that the two

:32:42.:32:46.

parties on my right and left are no longer in control and they felt

:32:46.:32:50.

felt when they designed the agreement that this would put them

:32:50.:32:54.

at the centre for ever, the people have decided differently. David?

:32:54.:32:56.

Obviously, a little bit of a spectator here in this regard T

:32:56.:33:00.

seems to me that from the question that was asked that the system has

:33:00.:33:06.

been quite successful, but not successful enough. Quite successful

:33:06.:33:09.

in bringing stable institutions, but not successful enough in going

:33:09.:33:13.

to the next phase, you know, to answer your question, every

:33:13.:33:16.

parliamentary democracy needs an opposition and a functioning

:33:16.:33:19.

opposition and an opposition that works and is a viable alternative,

:33:19.:33:24.

that's the nature of the beast. But Northern Ireland seems to me it

:33:24.:33:28.

still is a special case, that if you are saying we have got this far,

:33:28.:33:34.

but maybe to go to a voluntary coalition basis is a step too far

:33:34.:33:38.

that in fact the stability isn't as stable as we think. So, to come

:33:38.:33:41.

back to think it's a sign of success, but on the other hand,

:33:41.:33:45.

it's a sign that things aren't successful enough. OK. Thank you.

:33:45.:33:51.

Let's hear from Mark. I think it does need an opposition, we are

:33:51.:33:56.

talking about delivery and efficiency and I think

:33:56.:34:00.

accountability was another thing, I think Stormont opposition would

:34:00.:34:06.

deliver that. Thank you very much. The gentleman there. You have got

:34:06.:34:11.

the UUP and SDLP talking about the evolution of the St Andrews

:34:11.:34:15.

agreement. Should the priority not be to implement the agreement first

:34:15.:34:19.

and ensure there's an Irish language act introduced? Slightly

:34:19.:34:24.

off the subject, but thank you. I want to stay with the audience.

:34:24.:34:28.

don't think we need opposition, I think we need co-operation and if

:34:28.:34:31.

we had we had co-operation maybe Northern Ireland would benefit.

:34:31.:34:34.

APPLAUSE. You would like to see the parties involved in the Government

:34:34.:34:40.

working more closely together? We have a set-up where we can co-

:34:40.:34:42.

operate and now all of a sudden you want an opposition. Co-operate

:34:42.:34:48.

together and we might all benefit. OK. Thank you. I feel what we need

:34:48.:34:52.

from the DUP and Sinn Fein also is not so much - they've been given

:34:52.:34:56.

this power, but could you please exercise the power with a degree of

:34:56.:35:00.

dignity and not lecture to us. Arlene, you are sitting lecturing

:35:00.:35:04.

tonight. More dignity in the part you have been given would go down

:35:04.:35:09.

fantastically. In what fashion? You are talking about the electorate of

:35:09.:35:13.

Northern Ireland who returned... The point about the hypocrisy, I

:35:13.:35:17.

think the hypocrisy of the DUP for all those years, I am sure Mike

:35:17.:35:20.

Nesbitt can give me exact years, that you were outside of the

:35:20.:35:24.

process, now that you are at the centre everything must revolve

:35:24.:35:30.

around you. It's stomach-wrenching at times. A quick response. I have

:35:30.:35:33.

seen this position, I have a unique position because I have seen it

:35:33.:35:36.

from both sides, I was in the Ulster Unionist party, I have been

:35:36.:35:41.

in the DUP. The The Ulster Unionist party Minister comes to meetings

:35:41.:35:45.

with us, at our choice, at our choice every time there's an

:35:45.:35:47.

executive meeting the Ulster Unionist Minister comes to our

:35:47.:35:51.

discussions. Do you not think that's inclusive of us? Yet there's

:35:51.:35:55.

no acknowledgement of that at all. No acknowledgement. That's because

:35:55.:35:59.

the Ulster Unionist want to make party political points in relation

:35:59.:36:07.

to the issue. Sinn Fein, DUP, the two largest parties. What are they

:36:07.:36:10.

frightened of in an opposition? Thank you very much indeed. Thank

:36:10.:36:16.

you for the question. Next question is from Kathy who is a PR manager

:36:16.:36:20.

from Belfast. I would like to ask the panel in the present economic

:36:20.:36:24.

climate do the panel feel that spending a million to bring the

:36:24.:36:27.

music awards to Belfast was justified? We will hear from Arlene

:36:27.:36:31.

in a moment or two. Arlene is involved in tourism in Northern

:36:31.:36:36.

Ireland, and has responsibility for that and various organisations

:36:36.:36:40.

within her department were a part of that. Let's hear from David

:36:40.:36:46.

McWilliams. I don't know where you were at the weekend? My perspective

:36:46.:36:51.

was framed by my 11-year-old daughter who when she heard I was

:36:51.:36:57.

going to Belfast thought I was meeting lady Gaga. She was meant to

:36:57.:37:07.
:37:07.:37:08.

be on the panel! I think it is money very well spent actually. I

:37:08.:37:13.

think that what it does to the pwrapb of Belfast -- of Belfast, to

:37:13.:37:19.

project the brand out to a very, very wide audience, executed by MTV,

:37:19.:37:23.

probably one of the most commercially savvy television

:37:23.:37:28.

operations in the world, does untold positives that you can't

:37:28.:37:33.

quantify. Countries like Ireland, where it's north or south, we have

:37:33.:37:37.

to deal in the world of soft power. That's the power of persuasion, the

:37:38.:37:43.

power of changing people's minds, the power of brand, the power of

:37:43.:37:47.

perceptions. What sort of place is that? Now, for Northern Ireland to

:37:47.:37:52.

have catapulted from the Northern Ireland, the image was 20 years ago

:37:52.:37:56.

- actually the image didn't change for a long time, to being a place

:37:56.:38:00.

where, not only does the awards happen, but all these people are

:38:00.:38:05.

happy to come, I believe will reap a rich dividend for you in the same

:38:05.:38:09.

way as Dublin over the years changed its image. We got enormous

:38:10.:38:13.

amounts of tourism in, enormous amounts of different types of

:38:13.:38:21.

industries in and all this very soft, but very explicit changing in

:38:21.:38:25.

the image of Northern Ireland and Belfast is an enormous positive

:38:25.:38:32.

that you cannot quantify. So worth the money? Absolutely. I think it's

:38:32.:38:36.

worth the money at two levels, for all the reasons David said in terms

:38:36.:38:40.

of repositioning Belfast and this region in the world's eye and

:38:40.:38:43.

that's very, very important. It's also, frankly, worth it just

:38:43.:38:48.

because it lifted the mood in the city. I know a lot of people down

:38:48.:38:52.

at the Snow Patrol gig, 15,000 there, waking up on Monday morning

:38:52.:38:56.

with no job to go to, it's not a great life for them at the moment

:38:56.:39:00.

but it's bet they are week because of the memory of having had that.

:39:00.:39:03.

If we can follow through, and I do want to pay tribute to the tourist

:39:04.:39:07.

board and to the work in this regard, it's been good, if we can

:39:07.:39:11.

follow through and get a lot of sustainable tourism coming in

:39:11.:39:15.

behind the investment that was made around MTV, maybe some of those

:39:15.:39:19.

people will get a job next summer. The tourist board very involved,

:39:19.:39:23.

the council very involved. Have you put a figure on what was spent by

:39:23.:39:27.

Northern Ireland PLC in actually making the event happen? Well, it

:39:27.:39:31.

was, the tourist board and Belfast City Council partnered and put in I

:39:31.:39:36.

think over �1 million into making it all happen, but the estimates

:39:36.:39:39.

are that �10million will have come into the city and indeed the region

:39:39.:39:42.

because there are a lot of the stars and executives were staying

:39:42.:39:47.

outside of Belfast, just over that period of the weekend. I think the

:39:47.:39:52.

legacy of the MTV ap Awards is more important for Belfast and and

:39:52.:39:54.

Northern Ireland and we are dealing with the view that some people

:39:55.:39:57.

across the world have of Belfast and Northern Ireland. We are

:39:57.:40:00.

dealing with safety and security issues. Isn't it marvellous there

:40:00.:40:04.

were only seven arrests in the city of Belfast over the weekend, and

:40:04.:40:08.

that's what you normally have probably over a weekend in Belfast

:40:08.:40:12.

and there were over 20,000 people in the city and I was very proud of

:40:12.:40:15.

Belfast. I was proud of Northern Ireland, the way in which we were

:40:15.:40:18.

able to project ourselves across the world and I think the benefits

:40:18.:40:23.

of it will really - some of them will be intangible but they'll

:40:23.:40:25.

encourage people to come to Northern Ireland and to Belfast and

:40:25.:40:29.

it's a really great start to 2012, which is our year of opportunity,

:40:29.:40:32.

our year of tourism, our year of getting people to come into

:40:32.:40:37.

Northern Ireland. Raymond? I agree, I think it was worth the money. I

:40:37.:40:41.

think even the way it was presented even by the local media and you are

:40:41.:40:45.

to be congratulated, the commentary and running, because sometimes you

:40:46.:40:49.

can look at this from a distan and think it's a music awards, what's

:40:49.:40:52.

all the fuss? But it was interesting part of the commentary,

:40:52.:40:56.

people from other cities, Dublin, Madrid, who had hosted the

:40:56.:40:59.

festivals, were part of the local commentary and they said the long

:40:59.:41:03.

lasting effect effect it had, not just the �10million that was in

:41:03.:41:09.

Belfast, but the longer selling of a city to a worldwide audience. In

:41:09.:41:14.

2013 Derry is going to be the City of Culture f I thought today the

:41:14.:41:18.

tourist board or anybody else could spend �1 million and get out over

:41:18.:41:24.

the course of a year what Belfast got over... It would cost more than

:41:24.:41:29.

a million! When you spend a million what you can achieve, so we will

:41:29.:41:33.

eventually will have to spend more. We need more infrastructure,

:41:33.:41:36.

Belfast has the infrastructure. But I am trying to say is sometimes �1

:41:36.:41:41.

million is a lot of money in austere circumstances but if it has

:41:41.:41:44.

a lasting impact and creates more jobs you have to see it as wise

:41:44.:41:47.

spending. The numbers stack up as far as you are concerned?

:41:47.:41:57.
:41:57.:42:03.

A lot of people realise there is a lot more to it if they're going to

:42:03.:42:10.

do it to our standards. In terms of the spend, I cannot remember that

:42:10.:42:16.

the figure, but I think for every �1 we give them, they can generate

:42:16.:42:20.

�4 for the local economy, so I will support anything that generates

:42:21.:42:30.
:42:31.:42:31.

wealth. On the softer side, rather than hard economic factors, is

:42:31.:42:36.

there a civilisation that has not prospered without a strong

:42:36.:42:42.

foundation in their acts, creativity, writing? Are you would

:42:42.:42:47.

hate to think that we would forget the importance of that even in the

:42:47.:42:55.

austere times. What are your thoughts? It is all very positive.

:42:55.:43:01.

We feel positive about the weekend. I hope that we do reap the benefits

:43:01.:43:09.

and it is not just short lived. I hope it is about more than that and

:43:09.:43:13.

we do get jobs from it and we have more people coming to Belfast.

:43:13.:43:20.

Thank you. Gentleman with classes. Belfast City Council and the

:43:20.:43:25.

Tourist Board have to be commended, however although it is great to

:43:25.:43:29.

spend that money to recruit more money, why not get our politicians

:43:29.:43:34.

who promise that they would speak to the banks to get them at to lend

:43:34.:43:39.

appropriately, to recreate the construction industry in this

:43:39.:43:46.

country? It is appropriate to say this. We want to crawl the tourism

:43:46.:43:49.

industry so that it can provide jobs for people here in Northern

:43:49.:43:56.

Ireland. It is the 4th fastest growing industry across the UK.

:43:56.:44:06.
:44:06.:44:06.

There are great opportunities in and around tourism. Tourism is a

:44:06.:44:09.

bright light shining in Northern Ireland and we should be very proud

:44:09.:44:16.

of it. Wild horses would not have tried me into Belfast to listen to

:44:16.:44:21.

any of that music, but I share all the views that have been expressed

:44:21.:44:25.

about how well Northern Ireland that. I would like to congratulate

:44:25.:44:34.

everybody who was involved. Not for you, but well done! Thank you. Next

:44:34.:44:44.
:44:44.:44:45.

question. Is it right that every year we use the symbol of the poppy

:44:45.:44:55.
:44:55.:44:58.

as a political football? Raymond McCartney let me go to you first.

:44:58.:45:03.

There have been issues relating to English football teams over the

:45:03.:45:11.

weekend regarding this. What do you think of the question? I'd do not

:45:12.:45:15.

think a poppy should be used as a political symbol. People have a

:45:15.:45:24.

right to wear a poppy. I have no problem as an Irish republican with

:45:24.:45:34.
:45:34.:45:34.

people doing that. Some people opt out of wearing a poppy and that is

:45:34.:45:41.

not a political statement. But you would like it not to become a

:45:41.:45:46.

perennial political issue? Absolutely. People have the right

:45:46.:45:56.
:45:56.:45:57.

to wear a poppy and honour their dead in the right they see fit.

:45:57.:46:03.

Those that way it should not see it as a political statement. Enure he

:46:03.:46:07.

thinks the poppy is a political statement has a problem. Anyone who

:46:07.:46:12.

thinks that not wearing a poppy is a political statement also has a

:46:12.:46:16.

problem. We need to respect the right of people to choose to

:46:16.:46:23.

identify themselves or not with the act of remembrance. I appalled that.

:46:23.:46:27.

What has gone on with it the English soccer team, I am finding

:46:27.:46:32.

very difficult to computer. Just for the benefit of those who may

:46:32.:46:37.

not know, the English team wanted to wear the poppy with their

:46:37.:46:42.

friendly match against Spain, but FIFA said that religious and

:46:42.:46:45.

commercial and political emblems cannot be worn in international

:46:45.:46:55.
:46:55.:46:55.

matches. There are many states that have different emblems. Would you

:46:55.:46:59.

have supported the right of the England player to wear it?

:46:59.:47:05.

course. If every player wanted to wear it. I would rather not have it

:47:05.:47:12.

on my shirt. But we need to get really serious about dealing with

:47:12.:47:17.

the past. That is a bigger debate. That is what we need to focus our

:47:17.:47:26.

attention on. David? One of the biggest issues in the south over

:47:26.:47:30.

the last 20 years has been the gradual recognition of the tens of

:47:31.:47:35.

thousands of soldiers from southern Ireland who fought in World War One

:47:35.:47:38.

and Two were airbrushed bit of history because it was expedient to

:47:39.:47:48.
:47:49.:47:50.

do so. The history I learned that in secondary school was that the

:47:50.:47:55.

First World War was broadly fought by English people. Then people

:47:55.:48:02.

would talk about relatives that had also fought in that war. In the

:48:02.:48:08.

last 20 years there has been an important reassessment. But the

:48:08.:48:12.

problem is that the winner write history. If there were no right

:48:12.:48:17.

history then the history is jaundiced. If the history is

:48:17.:48:21.

jaundiced then nobody knows what the truth is. Over the last 10

:48:21.:48:27.

years their recognition of the Irish battalions, far more

:48:27.:48:32.

southerners died in World War One than northerners, these are facts,

:48:32.:48:37.

and it is only now that we are beginning to appreciate that.

:48:37.:48:45.

Nobody mentions it. I wear a poppy. I am proud to wear a poppy to say

:48:45.:48:51.

thank you. It is a small gesture. I do notice people who do not wear

:48:51.:48:58.

poppies at this time of year. I wonder why. Particularly as we're

:48:58.:49:02.

coming to a new realisation. When I see what has happened over the last

:49:02.:49:09.

few years, the president of Ireland and the Queen met recently. That

:49:09.:49:16.

was a spirit of generosity. You might not buy into it but that is a

:49:16.:49:20.

spirit of generosity. Is that not what the people of Northern Ireland

:49:20.:49:24.

lead at the moment to get us through these hard times? A spirit

:49:24.:49:32.

of generosity. This is the 24th anniversary of the Enniskillen

:49:32.:49:38.

bombing. It is a painful time. I want to recognise that tonight. It

:49:38.:49:45.

is important that I do that. I welcome the comet that have been

:49:45.:49:49.

made tonight. The poppy is not a political or religious symbol. I

:49:49.:49:53.

may that because I want to remember. Others do not. That is entirely up

:49:53.:50:03.

to them. I have to say that remembering the soldiers currently

:50:03.:50:07.

in Afghanistan and being in solidarity with them. There is a

:50:07.:50:15.

new spirit of leadership that was given by her Majesty the Queen when

:50:15.:50:19.

they looked at remembrance. The passage of time has allowed in the

:50:19.:50:23.

Republic of Ireland the recognition of the Irish who fought in World

:50:23.:50:30.

War One. Maybe it will take us some time to deal with those issues. A

:50:30.:50:35.

lot of those issues are still very raw. If you look at Enniskillen and

:50:35.:50:38.

the fact that their inquiry team is working with those people at the

:50:38.:50:42.

moment and there are still issues being addressed, that shows that

:50:42.:50:47.

there are sensitive issues. People in Enniskillen will wear the poppy

:50:47.:50:54.

with pride. I will be via on Friday and on Sunday to remember not just

:50:54.:50:59.

the world wars but also what happened in Enniskillen. And now

:50:59.:51:04.

look a comment from a questionnaire. There were people of all colours

:51:04.:51:09.

and creeds who fought and continued to fight in the armed forces for

:51:09.:51:14.

freedom and democracy and it is a shame that anybody would abuse or

:51:14.:51:23.

sully the memory of these people. The lady behind you.

:51:23.:51:28.

politicians need to take a reality pill. The poppy has been used as a

:51:28.:51:32.

political symbol. It has been used as a political symbol for many

:51:32.:51:36.

years. For a Sinn Fein person to say that he now has no problems

:51:36.:51:40.

with that is to deny the truth and not to look at what has happened in

:51:40.:51:45.

the past. The only have to look at the society we live in. It is now

:51:45.:51:51.

actually more divided than it has ever been with people being in

:51:51.:51:56.

their sectarian areas. There is a lot of evidence about that. What is

:51:56.:52:01.

needed is not to be nice to one another but to actually deal with

:52:01.:52:05.

their shoes. Yes, we are acknowledging that national sport

:52:05.:52:09.

in World War One, but we are a long way from dealing with that issue

:52:09.:52:14.

and many others. It is unfair of the politicians to sit here and say

:52:14.:52:21.

there is no politics in the poppy. But do we not stack with respect? I

:52:21.:52:27.

personally do not we're a poppy because nobody in my family was on

:52:27.:52:31.

the Western Front. They were all in the abbey at that time. That is my

:52:31.:52:36.

family history. But I know that we have to start getting some respect

:52:36.:52:40.

into the debate. Whether the poppy has been used in the past, and

:52:40.:52:45.

there are many symbols, we are island of symbolism, we need to

:52:45.:52:49.

allow them now to be worn by people who genuinely want to wear them

:52:49.:52:55.

with respect in that way. The big challenge we are now facing up to

:52:55.:53:01.

is the challenge of dealing with our past. You're new leader

:53:01.:53:05.

yesterday said he would not wear a poppy because he said that the

:53:05.:53:08.

British Legion has introduced a sense of appeals and to the poppy.

:53:08.:53:15.

What does that mean? I was not aware that that is what my new

:53:15.:53:20.

leader said. I think you should very carefully check what he said.

:53:20.:53:25.

That is not a fair quote. What chances as is the fact that we do

:53:25.:53:29.

not face up to the need to deal with the past. That is what we need

:53:29.:53:34.

to put their energy into. As you say, there is a bigger debate for

:53:34.:53:41.

another night. I believe that one there. Thank you very much. Next

:53:41.:53:51.
:53:51.:53:53.

question please. Do you believe that Jesus would be at the same

:53:53.:53:58.

poll's protest and what would he do? Very quick answers please. This

:53:58.:54:08.
:54:08.:54:08.

is to do with their Occupy my bed at St Paul's and elsewhere. I would

:54:08.:54:14.

not presume to guess what Jesus would do. But he would not be happy

:54:14.:54:19.

with the state of the world, including the state of the Assembly

:54:19.:54:22.

in Northern Ireland where people are paying -- people are being paid

:54:22.:54:30.

a lot of money for not doing very much. It is difficult to second-

:54:30.:54:35.

guess Jesus. I suspect he would be there articulating his views.

:54:35.:54:40.

he be disappointed that it does become a political hot potato for

:54:40.:54:47.

the management of the cathedral? am not going to second-guess that.

:54:47.:54:57.

The question is genuine. I think he would be via raising their issues.

:54:57.:55:01.

As the only applicant on the panel I have been watching very carefully

:55:01.:55:05.

what the Archbishop of Canterbury has been saying. It is not a simple

:55:05.:55:11.

issue of just siding with one or the other. Jesus gave a parable of

:55:11.:55:15.

the two talents. He told people to invest the two talents and to make

:55:15.:55:23.

more out of it. I do find it bizarre that people are now taking

:55:23.:55:30.

up positions out Saeed St Anne's Cathedral. The reason they're

:55:30.:55:33.

outside St Paul's Cathedral is because of its proximity to the

:55:33.:55:37.

City of London. But I can understand people being outside St

:55:37.:55:40.

Anne's Cathedral. It is perhaps just in solidarity with the

:55:40.:55:47.

protesters. Some people come woman heaving and leave their pens there.

:55:47.:55:50.

I do not understand that either. There are a lot of issues

:55:50.:55:59.

surrounding this. I am saying it is much more complex than people would

:55:59.:56:04.

have you believe. It is a difficult issue for the Church. When they got

:56:04.:56:09.

involved at issues such as this in the 1980s they found themselves

:56:09.:56:13.

coming down very firmly on one side of an argument and got into a whole

:56:13.:56:17.

political debate. There is a much wider debate that he's to be had

:56:17.:56:20.

about the role of wealth creation. We all want to see more wealth

:56:20.:56:27.

creation and the UK, but also in relation to ethics and morals.

:56:27.:56:37.
:56:37.:56:41.

think he would be there. Protesting? Protesting. APPLAUSE

:56:41.:56:45.

And his antecedents would also be there.

:56:45.:56:51.

You say that as a former banker. a former investment banker.

:56:51.:56:59.

have seen the light? I have seen the light! There is an enormous

:56:59.:57:03.

issue of morality at play. You have a country like the UK where the

:57:03.:57:13.
:57:13.:57:15.

latest figures show that chief executives are paid multiples of

:57:15.:57:19.

the little Gary's salaries. That is not the way that proper economics

:57:19.:57:24.

works. Proper economics is about giving everybody a chance. Final

:57:24.:57:30.

thoughts. The Christianity that I believe in is one that is based on

:57:30.:57:35.

social justice and solidarity. If those protests are up anything,

:57:35.:57:40.

they should be about social justice and solidarity. Whether it is just

:57:40.:57:45.

one person standing up for what is right against a corrupt system,

:57:45.:57:52.

that is the sort of thing Jesus would have wanted. Interesting to

:57:52.:57:56.

hear your thoughts on that. Final thought from the questioner.

:57:56.:58:02.

believe he would be there. I think he would be teaching the protesters

:58:02.:58:07.

to pray for the Government to help the government changed and bring

:58:07.:58:14.

prosperity across the land like teaching people to help build an

:58:14.:58:20.

economic society again. Thank you. Fine to everyone. That is what we

:58:20.:58:25.

In a special edition of the programme, Mark Carruthers chairs a debate on topical events with a panel of politicians, in front of a studio audience.

The guests are: enterprise minister Arlene Foster, DUP; Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney; SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt; UUP economy spokesman Mike Nesbitt MLA; and Irish economist David McWilliams.


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