Special Spotlight


Mark Carruthers hosts as an audience put questions to Sammy Wilson, Gerry Kelly, Jim Allister, economist David McWilliams and academic and commentator Deirdre Heenan.

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Hello and welcome to the programme. Tonight, another top-notch panel is


here to tackle the big issues of the week. Sammy Wilson sits in the


Executive as the finance minister. Gerry Kelly is a Sinn Fein MLA in


Belfast. Deirdre Heenan belongs to the University of Ulster. Also


drumming us tonight - David McWilliams, and then MLA for North


Antrim. Tonight's questions come from


members of our studio and audience. You can also have your say at home.


You can also phone and e-mail us, and you can tweet your comments to


us. The details on your screen now. Calls cost up to five pence per


minute from most land lines. Calls from mobiles may cost considerably


more. Our first question comes from Peter,


a church minister from Port Stewart. I want us the panel - is there


still an opportunity for leadership at Goodwood? Let us put that first


to Professor Deirdre Heenan. When I first heard about good word, my


initial reaction was, here we are, business as usual. A mix of


frustration, anger and dismay that we would seriously think of


conceding one of the core values of Northern Ireland, the allocation of


social housing. Incredible, given the its historical significance.


What we have to look at his watch to the possibilities here? How can


this be a catalyst for real change in north Belfast? There are still


possibilities, but we need to think big. We want to say, how can


bespeak a game changed, an area that has suffered so much over the


past 40, 80 years? What you want is a world class area, where


individuals who do not live in north Belfast will go to world


class leisure and facility services. It or not matter who lives in those


houses. It will be some would we want to go. What we cannot have is


a political carve up. If it looks like a car up, it smells like a car


up, it is a cup up. It is unacceptable. The politicians have


to realise that the people of Northern Ireland have moved on. We


do not on this sectarianism any more, and we do not both -- and we


do not one but as a legacy for our children. APPLAUSE. So you are


saying it is a car up, and due regard this as a missed


opportunity? We are going to have to think again. Many plans were


drawn by the apparent European funding, and the closure of that


funding. That is an example of hand to mouth policies. I think it is a


calf up, but what we want is a catalyst for the regeneration of a


terrier, to address the poverty that exists. I looked at what was


being proposed, and yes, that is on the right direction, but not enough.


We want people to think big and think outside the box and say, in


the future, this whole area will be a world class area for regeneration.


Sammy Wilson, a clear message there from to droop. If it looks like a


car but, it is. First double, many of her attitude to these things


will be influenced by what goes on in the news around us. For a number


of years, two successive ministers failed to come to any conclusions.


One drove this fruit a week ago. This was been welcomed, not just by


two particular parties, but by all of the party's. This was agreed and


signed up to buy all of the parties in north Belfast, then it was


decided to stop playing politics. Here is a site - it is in the


middle of one of the most contested areas of Belfast. Yet 90% will be


designed in a way to insure that it is a shared space, attract people


from all sides of the community of north Belfast, it will be of such a


standard the people from outside the area will also be attracted to


it. There are two areas of housing. But that is the whole point. It is


not. Here is a site, 90% of which will be developed with high class


facilities which will be shared by schools, Protestant and Catholic,


shed in terms of sports on offer, shared by the communities


surrounding that. I think that that in itself is an important facility


fought a deprived area. The fact will have two areas of housing


which currently... Many people have preached about this. I would like


to see them go from the leafy suburbs and live in mixed


communities in North Belfast. They preach about it, but were not


practise it. This is not a mixed community. This is two separate


segregated piecing of housing. present, we have to live with the


reality that we have. If you can make this a shared space, I do not


know what that housing will look like in 10 years' time. But we have


to start from where we are. Some of the people who preach about it do


not practise that integration too well. They live in safe areas and


do not have to worry about the tensions that revolve around those


areas. Some of your critics have asked the question - is this some


kind of car up for the Maze prison? They have been upset together and a


deal has been done between Sinn Fein and the do you people stop it


was initially agreed by all the parties. It was agreed that a


representative would be in north Belfast. Later on, they may well


have thought there was political advantage in taking that line. But


here is a site that lay neglected for a long time. A minister has


driven with the local communities and politicians a plan which may


well have some improvement, but tries to use this as they shared


space. Jim Allister, are you satisfied with that? It is both a


car up and a trade-off. The trade of I do believe is the Maze, were


suddenly, after stopping the stadium because of the affiliation


with the ugly prison buildings, suddenly, all of that which would


create a shrine, is now acceptable. We now have a project, a so-called


transformation and reconciliation centre. The key point of which is


the hospital wing, where the hunger strike took place, are kept under


an integral part of that. Some Sinn Fein politicians have boasted of


story telling. The very sort of thing which the DPP said they would


never accept because it would be... But you do not actually know that.


One knows how this Government works. It is one trade-off against the


other. Sinn Fein were demanding hundreds of houses. They would not


move on that. Suddenly, they have conceded on that. What do they get


in return? It looks obvious to me. They got the Maze. This is the


trade-off. There is nothing about how this Executive functions. It is


the politics of trade-off, and maize is a classic example of that.


We the public were not even trusted to be told how many houses they


would build. And how was it launched? Very interesting. They


did not call a press conference. They brought their own photographer,


took their own photographs. Then they released the news about it.


They spent �4,000 of the taxpayers' money on employing the top of us to


take photographs of the Executive. They could not trust themselves to


be cross examined by the press. That is how they announced it.


do you respond to that? Or that, for him, is enough evidence that


this is a car up, and is what this Government is about. Is it? Is


there a deal between north Belfast and the Maze? Absolutely.


Everything is a car up to Jim. I was involved in negotiations. At no


time was the Maze brought into this. In fact, the leadership in Sinn


Fein did not know where we were with it. It was a local issue. And


what amazes me a wee bit about this, I understand the cynicism and


scepticism, in any other circumstance, in north Belfast,


often described as a microcosm of the conflict, which has the most


number of peace walls in the north, and we make a breakthrough. A


potential breakthrough, in any case. A potential breakthrough for the


first time. We get parties diametrically opposed. All the


parties, because we have had five spokes people altogether, who did


sign up to this, who agreed to it, and for the record, I was the one


who did not want to do the press conference. We wanted the press


conference. It was then agreed, in fairness to him, that we would do a


On the news for three days, he knows nothing about North Belfast.


On one hand he is talking about cutting 350 families, another is


200. Another is 220. This was never going to solve the problems.


Objective need is at the basis of Sinn Fein policy. Why did you then


roll back from a position were over 200 houses were going to be built


for nationalists in the area? elyou. You are not answering that


question. You are taking this site, you are talking about 27 acres.


It's 14 acres. The other 13 are in the jail, you can't build houses in


the jail. You were never going to solve the problem with that. What


you were able to do was builds on it where there hasn't been a brick


put down in six years. All the arguments against this is based on


the fact that in some way people want it to be a derelict site for


another ten years. The people of North Belfast deserve better.


the urgent need of housing on North Belfast on the nationalist side of


the house or the unionist side of the house There is a waiting list


of 2,400 families. Of that, 90% are nationalist. That is not 90%, 10%


in terms of the housing build built. 200 other houses are being built in


North Belfast. We have houses up in the numbers there will be 700 in


the end. We are working in a lot of places to build houses. The


concentration of this argument ended up on one side. You cannot


just have housing without amenities. Three schools - Why have you given


up on the basic principles of need and equality? Three schools which


haven't had facilities for their children have them in the Girdwood


site. Why have you given up on the basic principles of need? I have


not. You have. No. Part of the SDLP are saying. That I haven't him


saying it was a great idea. He has more detail there are serious


issues he isn't happy with. Let's hear from David McWilliams. What do


you make of what has been very much dominating the agenda here over the


past week? If you look at it from the outside, to answer the


gentleman's question about vision and leadership. It seems


extraordinary, Mark, to me, absolutely extraordinary, that we


will still be talking about this, what from the outside this narsism


of small difference. If you say blacks live here and whites live


here. You would be, you can't do that in this day of age. It strikes


me as a southerner, married to a northerner, that the only way that


this con stphrict can be made normal is if you school children


together. Now, if you school children together you begin the


process of familiarisation, were people hang out together. They


realise, I'm of a southern Catholic background, married to my wife a


northern Protestant. My children don't have horns. They have normal


children. The only way you are going, to over the next ten years,


begin the process of normalisation is if the leaders of the various


different groups lead. And maybe, if you could put in the middle this


an integrated school were the children should go. Not an option,


but should go, so you have a responsibility as well with your


housing rights. Ultimately, Mark, if this doesn't happen, we will go


around the circle again and again much we will be here in 20 years


time and there will be another issue like this. I want to go to


the audience. In Girdwood you will have sports facilities which will


be used by Catholic schools and grammar schools. They will not have


an integrated school? No. They will have shared facilities that will


enable that interface. That is visionary. It's divided and you


begin the process of non-division at a young age were people realise


they are not that different. David, thank you very much. I want to go


to the audience. APPLAUSE


Let's hear from Peter who asked the question. What is your response?


appreciate David's point about visionary relationship and to start


it early. Integrated education seems the best way of doing that.


Do you believe there is a carve-up. Do you think there is a connection


between what is happening in North Belfast and the Maze? It haes's


hard for us on the outside to know. Will they do progressive steps and


change things up. We don't want the same scenario in ten to 15 years


time. On the left. I live in the North Belfast area, I would like


the decisions made on the interface issues as well as equality for


housing for all throughout Northern Ireland to be made in the Assembly.


The people who made that decision struggled for six years to come to


a decision which would accommodate some very ten yus issues in the


community. Is it a good decision? Yes. It's a good decision because


of the unique situation that happens in interfaces. The fact


that we have the two largest parties coming together for this


decision. I think the big thing is, why then, in two television


programmes, was that six years of negotiation allowed to be pushed


aside for a quick gimmick in the media. I think the media have acted


irresponsiblibly in this. I'm not quite sure what you are talking


about specifically. The most successful capital expenditure in


Belfast in recent times hasn't involved to any great degree


politicians or indeed social housing. Taking a greater


appreciation of the Girdwood development has no-one considered


that the University Ulster will decant less than 500 metres from


the Girdwood barracks, to get involvement from them would take


away contentiousness from that area? Part of the negotiations were


with the University of Ulster and they were offered to look at the


site and if they had any ideas. That conservation was done with


them drve conversation was done with them. It will be a catalyst


for regeneration and revive that whole area. That will have a knock-


on effect. We need clarity on the basic issue and the issue that


caused much contention. However many houses there are on that site,


will they be allocated on the basis of objective need? If we have an


answer to that we can say there is an onus on the politicians and


whatever else ifs on that site will have to be top-class, and people


who don't live in the area will want to go there and people who


live in the area will have confidence and pride about their


communities. Will it be based on need? If you listen to Jonathan


Bell, the two of us are speaking the same language. The law say it


is has to be on need. Housing is allocated... Housing list comes


down to individuals. Housing is allocated on the basis of an


individual. If the individual has a need, it doesn't matter on their


religion or were where they come from, they should be offered that


house. Why wasn't the Housing Executive involved? Somebody over


here said the Ulster University should be avoid. The Housing


Executive may not of been involved. Isn't that just a little bit


surprising? No. You have to understand, I don't know why you


don't understand that parties who are so wide apart did not need


somewhere quie tote sit down and work through their differences and


come to a conclusion. Why don't you tell us how many houses. We don't


know the answer to that. We have been talking about people not


wanting to live together. You can see from the likes of Northern


Ireland Life and Times Survey that people do want to live together.


They don't want to move into old areas were they will be in a


minority and won't feel security. This was a new site with the


opportunity to allow people who wish to to live together. You've


screwed that up. Well done. APPLAUSE


Thanks very much. Our second question tonight. Thank you to


Peter for our first question. Next question is from Leanne Dunlop who


is an unemployed journalist from ball money. How can Northern


Ireland people be better placed to cope with the worsening eurozone


CrySys? David McWilliams? account people in Northern Ireland


be better placed? Because you have sterling. You are isolated in terms


of at least the exchange rate. What is happening in the euro zone is


that the euro economy has three major problems. It has too much


debt. It hasn't enough growth. It doesn't have any political


leadership. Now, you put those three together, no political


leadership, Germany pulling one way, France, Italy and Spain possibly


pulling the other way. You have too much debt, inherited from the last


ten years. You also have no growth in the economies. So, in economics,


the most important thing to do in a CrySys is really define your


reality. Not as you would like it to be, but as it actually is. It


strikes me that what you have is Germany wants to keep the euro in


place, because Germany does very well out of it. Germany trades with


the eurozone. Huge, huge trader and it sells. It also, because it's in


the eurozone, gets a subsidy. If its currency was the Deutschmark,


it is a used to be, it would be much, much stronger than it is. So,


for those two reasons, also now, in the CrySys, money is flowing out of


Ireland, flowing out of Spain, out of Italy into Germany. Germans are


getting low interest rates. It's like, it is interesting you are


talking about neighbourhoods. It's like a house-proud neighbour in a


bad neighbourhood. The Germans are the house-proud neighbour. They


have a lovely lawn. They wash their cars all the time. They fix the


gates. All around increasingly they are surrounded by delinquents. Even


the French are threatening to go rogue. The Germans are getting


worried. The question for the rest of us Europeans is what price the


Germans put on cleaning up the neighbourhood. I believe, as


somebody who watches this on a daily basis, that Germany is


prepared to pay a larger price than it's letting on, which is obvious.


The rest of Europe just hasn't quite figured out the exstopbt


which the Germans are prepared to pay. -- extent to which the Germans


are prepared to pay. That is the big bargain over the next two or


three months. If Greece chooses to leave the euro the CrySys gets


worse. In terms of Northern Ireland, what you have got is, to an extent,


you have the protection of being with sterling. Sterling has proved


itself to be, I think many people are surprised by this, reasonably


strong and stable in the face of what has been a pretty catastrophic


economic back drop over the last year. OK. Interesting and very


colourful analogy that you use there as far as the Germans are


concerned. You wrote a piece for the Financial Times today. I want


to hear from Sammy. Are you saying we are in a stronger position than


the Republic of Ireland, but we are maybe a little bit more vulnerable


that other parts of the UK? I think because of the trade with the South


is quite significant here. Also the general facing of industrial policy


is broadly the same, in terms of attracting inward investment etc. A,


we have the trade with the South, which most people see as


Sainsbury's in Newry. It's greater than that. You're not half as


exposed. You don't have a land boarder. You don't have a land


boarder, the rest doesn't have the euro zone. If Gordon Brown did


anything positive, it was those five tests he put in a couple of


years ago. I think the people in the UK are much better off outside


the euro than they would of been otherwise. Very interesting to hear


that. David, thank you very much. Do you share his analysis and the


position where Northern Ireland is as far as this CrySys is concerned?


It's significant that many of those people who were berating us for not


joining the euro are quiet on the issue. It was going to be an


economic disaster. David has said Germany is prepared to pay a price


to clean up the neighbourhood. But, the United Kingdom is being drawn


into that clean-up operation as well. That's having an impact on


our economy. It's estimated so far, through helping the euro stability


and also through the IMF, we have put �67 billion into supporting


euro countries. That's money which is being drained from spending in


our own economy. I think the first thing I would like to see is the


Government, I see it in the Queen's Speech, they have taken the first


steps saying, we are no longer going to be responsible for a mess


we aren't part of. Because of the existing situation in Europe,


European markets are not going to grow for a long time. One of the


things, which I think increasingly Northern Ireland firms must do, is


look at the growing markets. That is what Arlene Foster is doing,


India, China, Brazil, Africa some of those areas were growth is 8%,


9%. That is where the markets were. Would you like to see the euro


The one thing however, the longer we keep trying to sustain an


unsustainable position, and money being lent to sustain that position,


we will respect growth in our own economy. -- restrict growth. And


then being able to restore competitiveness and get wet on the


Strait jacket that being part of the euro demands, like Greece.


agree, particularly with the last point. The weaker economies in


Europe are never going to prosper within the eurozone because it is


so arranged against all their interests. They joined, they had


different challenges and their economy, they had to subject their


entire economy to the central control of the European Central


Bank, they set their interest rates, they decided what they could borrow,


then they decided you could not borrow up above 3%. This said a


whole culture of borrowing, which the smaller countries borrowed, and


they are left in the position to pick up the pieces. They need to


have their own currencies again. They need to control their own


money supply, and maybe just begin to rebuild their economies. But


mile my, how thankful we should be, in the United Kingdom, but we never


entered the folly of the eurozone! APPLAUSE. The key difficulty for


most people watching is the pace of change and uncertainty. We seemed


to be lurching from crisis to crisis, and it is very difficult to


know what will happen. The tectonic plates are shifting, and we do not


know what direction they are shifting. If we go back to the


example of Germany, it suits them to have a number of weaker


economies. They are happy to throw a few crumbs and the weaker


economies and keep the men. The bigger issue is, we have seen a


change of regime, in France, and we are all waiting on a political


election in Germany. Whatever Germany rejects austerity and goes


for a socialist government? Is the whole euro project back on? It was


not about the euro, it was about fiscal and monetary union. The


first thing they would say Thailand is, you have to adjust your


corporation tax. -- say to Ireland. Where are we, as far as Northern


Ireland is concerned? Would you like to see the Republic out of the


euro? I do not think that is what the referendum is about. It is


about sovereignty. The strongest economy... We are also in the EU.


You cannot think we are immune. We are not. The referendum, taking


place on Thursday, is giving more sovereignty to it. But also to


Germany. Yes, we are against it. I do not know if we were when that


referendum, but they are looking at -- looking something like 6 billion


out of the economy. Austerity could mean years on years. Let us go back


to Leeanne. Your thoughts on what we have heard so far? From my point


of view, an average everyday persona would do well to increase


their ties. Anybody else want to make a quick comment on this? Happy


to take your thoughts or not as the case may be. Gentlemen, in the


second row. I am asking Mr Kelly, would you still go into the urine


now? -- into the euro? That is a different question. Balaam bustard


the money. So, what faith is there for an economist now? We have


always argued for a relationship with Europe but Coventry. You are a


smaller country, it is more important. Let us move on to our


third question tonight.,. Should there be a bank holiday thought the


Easter rising? LAUGHTER. Has it been raised around the Executive


table at Stormont? It may well have been. But yes, of course. We are


talking about partnership. There art Republicans who have a view of


things that that should be respected in the same way as issues


which affect Unionists. Absolutely not. There is no comparison between


the Diamond Jubilee of our sovereign in the United Kingdom and


some foreign, grubby field rebellion 100 years ago. There is


nothing to celebrate about that, other than the feeling. If they


want a celebrated, celebrating. Celebrate it in the Republic of


Ireland, not Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland we do have


something we should be celebrating - the centenary of the Ulster


Covenant, which was part of the building blocks of Northern Ireland.


When it was the 50th anniversary, there was a public holiday in


Northern Ireland to market, but under Sinn Fein rule, there will be


no public holiday to mark the centenary. But Nadal, there will be


moves to get a public holiday to celebrate the 1916 rising. I repute


D8 the comparison. You cannot a me everything you agree with should be


celebrating! Or that is not what I am saying. We celebrate the Diamond


Jubilee of our sovereign. If there is another country which thinks


there is an important event in our history, then they can celebrated


for as long and in whatever manner they choose. I think Jim's answer


an attitude highlights why we need to think very carefully about the


very important commemorations coming up over the next number of


years and how we would deal with them. And how we deal with them in


a way which respects diversity and different communities. To refer to


something as rubbery and derogatory language, does not move fast


forward one iota. APPLAUSE. We do have to make a distinction between


things which pertain to the United Kingdom and events which may be


important to Republicans, but which pertain to another country. If we


will have days in which we set aside, for celebration, then they


should be pertinent to our own country. The Americans celebrate


fourth July. We do not expected to be a public holiday here. The same


as Bastille Day in France, an important day for the French. The


Queen's Jubilee is important in the UK. The 1916 rising is something


which is pertinent to the history of another sovereign country, which


happens to Sir the same island as we do. Indeed, if people in


Northern Ireland field and affiliation, I am sure they can


think of appropriate ways in which that can be done. I personally


would not take the view they should not have the right to celebrate,


but I do not think it should be given the same status as something


which is naturally important to the UK. How significant is it that


Martin McGuinness will consider a proposal to market give it? People


ask, is there no vision in Northern Ireland? Peter Robinson has sought


ways to reach out to be nationalist and republican community to show we


want to work our way forward, and has taken steps to do that. I hope


that Martin McGuinness will reciprocate the steps. Jim, you


already seller but something that APPLAUSE. If you want to get into


the politics of insults and slurs, it does not bring you forward at


all. The battle of the Boyne was of European significance. It was


particularly of significance to the formation and constitutional


formation of this United Kingdom, because at the same time, the bill


of Rights was made. But you take his broader point but it is more


complicated than you suggested. There is nothing for me to


celebrate in a 1916 rising in another place. With the respect, it


is not about you celebrating. It is about allowing other people to


celebrate. That is deep one! If you are saying to me that a rebellion


by Irish rebels, akin to the murderous activities of the IRA,


should be celebrated in Northern Ireland, then I'm sorry. I do not


agree. This is not about you! This is about the future everyone.


us go back to collar. I agree with what jury was saying. On the same


basis at the Jubilee? Yes. I am from Northern Ireland, but I hold


an Irish passport. I call myself a proud Irish Republican. I do not


care whether it you support the butler Boyne or not, but I am an


Irish republican. I am proud of the Easter rebellion. I am not pursuing


anything on you. I warned not to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee


because I do not recognise her. you want to dawn in the


celebrations, you can go to Dublin to do that. Let me tell you, north,


east, south or west, I have an Irish passport. Would you support


it on the same basis as the Diamond Jubilee? Certainly. Quick comment


from the gentleman in the back road. Just because Jim it does not


appreciate what happened in 1916, does he believe any Republican does


not have the right to celebrate anything he believes in? I think


Jim has answered that already. Thank you for raising the question.


Next question from David Nickson, a community volunteer. With the power


and agree about action? I think there is a very sorry history of


foreign intervention. We can all lament the dreadful situation in


Syria, the huge humanitarian disaster that it is. But when


military intervention has been done in the past, getting in has been


easy. Sorting out has been difficult. Getting a has been even


more difficult. We need sobriety with this matter. The international


community need to maximise all the pressure it can on the Syrian


regime and, hopefully, in due course, that might bring delivery.


But if anyone intervenes, it has to be international, not just in


intervention by components. We have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan the


country's left to carry the can. How does the situation in Syria


You could construct an argument for Libya and Syria. I'm cautioning it


is easier to get in, harder to get out. We want to do what we can. We


need to be careful about launching in without too much thought. Sammy?


I fear that the example that you gave, Mark, of what happened in


Libya may well act as a catalyst for intervention in Syria. I think


we were lucky we got out of Libya as easily as what we did get out of


that situation. We could of been dragged into something much more


protracted, etc. We have to get to the point - when we see the


shocking pictures that there have been about bodies strewn across the


street and the atrocities, etc, of course, naturally, people say we


shouldn't allow this to happen. We have to be careful that, as a


country, we do not have the resources to become the conscience


of the world and the policeman of the world. To intervene in


situations which, you know we put our own citizens at danger in and


sometimes we really don't have a very clear way of getting out. We


don't know what the outcome is going to be. The Government has


taken the right attitude wesm have put diplomatic pressure. Diplomatic


expulsion, do they have any effect? I think they will have an effect. I


think by doing that we also will help to consolidate, perhaps, more


international action in Syria, but I think we have to be extremely


careful. I would be the same as Jim, I would urge caution because the


gung ho attitude that some political leaders had in the United


Kingdom, were they felt they had to have a good war to show they were a


good political leader and left many broken lives behind them. We are in


danger of consensus. I agree with the last two speakers. I think we


have to be very careful in any intervention. All the evidence is


there that it doesn't work. I do think that diplomatic pressure is


very, very important. It has worked in the past. It should continue to


be put on. If there is truly, the true judgment, I think the Speaker


said, "if needs be", how do you work out what that is? The true


reading of what is happening in any country is the popular uprising is


the fact that the people themselves turn against their government in a


democratic way and replace them. That has also happened. I don't


think can jump in front of the people in any of these cases.


Deirdre Heenan j gentleman I would agree with what has been said. The


UK has had their fingers burnt. We know the difficulties of jumping in.


You get in and you can't get out. We were lucky to get out. This time,


what we have to do is say, what is available to us other than saying


it's up to us to come in as the white knight on the charger. We


have to change public opinions. I think we have to raise awareness.


What surprises me is how many people are unaware of what's going


on in Syria. It isn't making the front pages of the newspapers. It


has over the last few days? Until that. The tipping point was the


atrocities at the weekend because it avoided children. There were


atrocities on a daily basis and people didn't want to talk about it.


This is a tipping point and changing our attitudes and say we


need to ensure we we put as much diplomatic pressure. We will see


this because Russia is moving away. Libya's many ally was Silvio


Berlusconi. Other than it was an isolated country with trade links


to Europe. Syria sits in the middle of an alliance of Iran, Russia and


China. All of which stand behind, whether we like it or not, the


Syrian regime. Against that background is the American fear


that Iran, through Iraq, and into the Shia Muslims in Syria and into


Lebanon are created an arc of Shia Muslims. It's really complicated.


The great tragedy of Syria is that Syria is only a pawn in a huge game


were China wants oil, were Russia wants influence and were Iran wants


domination. Against that background I think it is a totally different


case, not only to Libya, but to possibly also to Iraq earlier on.


OK. Thank you very much David. David Nixon who asked the question.


My opinion is, if Britain or any other nation in the world could


help, they should because all life should be valued. There is innocent


people dying in the streets now as we're speaking. You think more


needs to be done you are not satisfied with diplomatic expulsion.


Expulsion people into fancy hotels who are not leaving the country


they are being expelled from isn't going to do any good. What about


Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya? Well, I agree with military action them. It


has helped people out and built towns and cities. I would do the


same thing again. Our next question from Orla, a student in Carrickmor.


I would like to ask, what is going to happen to the lost generation?


OK, the lost generation. Which we have talked about a lot. What do


you think the lost generation is and what can be done for people who


are coming out of school without qualifications in many instances,


finding it very hard to get into the workplace? Even people with


qualifications seriously struggling at the moment? Seriously struggling.


What we are find something that young people are being


disproportionately affected by decisions made by adults that they


had no part of. They are in the difficult position of having gained


qualifications and finding there is nowhere for them. We are working


hard with a number of schemes to address that. Within the University


of Ulster we place great value on student placements. Placements


within the workplace. So that the students can get an idea of what


work is like. What the skills are like. They can decide what is for


them. The employers know what the students have to offer and we


describe our students in many ways as, "oven ready", they have valued


experienced within the workplace. We also have to increase the number


of apprenticeships and ensure that the employers are well bought into


the apprenticeship schemes because this is about ensuring that the


skills that we have in our workforce are matched to what our


employers need. It is a disgrace that, yes, of course, that people


are coming out, they are coming out with student loans and debts and


they can't find jobs. There are many ways that our local Assembly


can try to address some of these issues by promoting schemes such as


the Halo Scheme, such as schemes that the Northern Ireland Science


Park to ensure that the young people have the skills which are


appropriate for the labour market. Is the Executive doing enough?


Couldn't it do more to help young people struggling at the moment?


People will always want you to do more. First of all, youth


unemployment in Northern Ireland is lower than the UK average. Youth


unemployment has fallen over the last year while it has gone


newspaper other parts of the United Kingdom. That is as a result of


some of the interventions that Deirdre Heenan has talked about.


When it comes to public procurement there is a require am on anyone who


win as tender to take on apresent sis and to give people the


opportunities to get started and get skills. The amount of money we


have put into schemes to help with youth unemployment has increased.


Indeed, Stephen Farry is drawing up a youth employment strategy which


will come to the Assembly soon. lot of young people are leaving


Northern Ireland to find work elsewhere? There are. Equally, we


have done a number of things. I'm outlined some of them, which is


alleviating the problem here in Northern Ireland. We have tried to


ensure that students leave university in Northern Ireland with


less student debt because we have held down student fees. Making


training at that level more attractive to them. It's a problem


here and down South? A problem all over the world. If you look at


particularly the United States the companies that create most jobs in


the United States are companies that employ between five and ten


people. This is were jobs are being created. Big companies are


destroying jobs around the world. Small companies are were it's at.


The companies that created most jobs are companies between one and


two years old. It's young, small companies. So that is creating jobs.


That is what is absorbing in particularly unemployed younger


people. The question you have to do, how do you make a situation were


you incentivise small companies to go into business. Here in the North,


or in the South. The South has used the tax system effect nifl a


variety of ways. For example, maybe Sammy could think about the �60


million you have to spend in your back pocket. You might think of


maybe putting together something like a tax holiday for companies


that are setup in order to employ three or four people for four or


five years. You create the incentive to go into business


because something like this can work extraordinarily well in small


countries. The interesting thing about small countries is


individuals matter enormously. People who step up to the plate


matter enormously. If you give incentive. There is a company in


Newry called first Derivities. If they can do it in Newry, they can


do it better in there than in New York.


APPLAUSE Briefly, if you would? Two quick


points. There is no easy answer. I think we all know. That there are


schemes like Steps to Work, to help people who are really quite


unskilled. I think the real question is, are the schemes


matching the skills to the jobs? I think that's were the disparity is.


Thra are maybe soms jobs which aren't being matched to the skills.


The second thing, is picking up on the last point about small being


beautiful. For too long in Northern Ireland I think, yes, FDIs are


important, we pursued the glamour side of things with foreign direct


investment and ignored too much of our small industry were much of our


employment lies. Very quickly, if you would? An interesting point


that David makes and Sammy will remember this. There is a finance


project within Europe which allows up to �20,000 as a grant to young


people. The problem is the partnership. You have to get the


financial institutions to partner people in small and medium


enterprises. 90% of all business is small or medium enterprise. It's a


reflection of what you are saying about the outside world. Thank you


very much. Orla, a final comment. Are you satisfied? There should be


a bigger emphasis on bringing schemes with the likes of coming


out with education and qualifications should be getting


jobs at the end of it. You think it's a big problem? Yeah. One last


question, if we are quick. Has the Eurovision Song Contest become too


political for the UK and Ireland to win again? That's the serious


question of the night. What happened to Jed ward and enge ange


elBert. It was the flat hair that got them. It a fair question after


watching. Maybe it's down to the talent of the offerings that we


present. They said they were going to win. They came 18th. The British


entry came 4 1st. I wasn't watching. Not very good. Has it become


political, seriously? It seems to me, Ireland won it six times in a


row, I think it came to the point were countries are trying to avoid


hosting it. It has passed its sell- by-date. I don't know if it's


talent. I didn't watch it, I didn't watch it last year or the year


before. I have no great interest. I don't think it's political, it's


lost its edge anyway. Is it because people don't like the UK, is that


why they are not voting? I wouldn't say that. I think... What would you


say? I don't know whether it's become too political. It's become


too farcical to even want to win. It's something which I think is


well past its sell-by-date. Were you not charmed by the Russian


grannies? To enthralled I didn't watch them. I'm told they were the


only act worth watching. It has really gone beyond a serious


competition. The voting within it is political. That undermines it


further. Sammy? I couldn't tell you. I didn't know it was on until


tonight when I saw it in the briefing. Whether it's political or


not. Europe can make everything political, even songs. You didn't


watch Jedward? I didn't know it was on. On Saturday with the sun


shining I spent it out in the garden. What I want to know, did


you watch it when it was all about Abba and the Brotherhood of Man.


I quite like Abba. I still liked Abba. It was a Swedish band, woman


that won this time roun. Not Abba. I thought in this Executive he


liked all kinds of everything. it's money I like! Were you


watching? I didn't see. It I was out at the Mayor's Ball. That is a


different story! I think it's lost its shine. It's not a song


competition any more. It's a dressing competition. There was a


time when people felt they wanted to compete to win now it's


something that people have parties in their house to watch. Losing to


Ulster would of been tragic. Some people were breathing a shy of


relief that Jedward didn't get beyond 18th. Thank you to our pan


Elf guests and our student audience. Thank you to you at home for


All the week's big talking points, as a studio audience puts questions to Finance Minister Sammy Wilson, North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly, TUV Leader Jim Allister, economist David McWilliams and academic and commentator Deirdre Heenan. Presented by Mark Carruthers.

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