Special Spotlight


Special

A studio audience puts questions to Jeffrey Donaldson, Declan Kearney, David McNarry, media commentator Steve Hewlett and journalist Dearbhail McDonald. Noel Thompson presents.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to this Spotlight Special where our studio audience

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have the chance to put their questions and voice their concerns

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directly to our panel. Among them the politicians who take the

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decisions that shape all our lives. On tonight's panel, Jeffrey

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Donaldson - The DUP's Member of Parliament for Lagan Valley.

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Declan Kearney - Sinn Fein's national chairperson and a long-

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standing member of the party leadership and negotiating team.

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He's been engaged in reaching out to Protestants, whether they like

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it or not. The Dublin-based journalist and

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author Dearbhail McDonald. Born in Newry, she's the legal editor for

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the Irish Independent newspaper. Steve Hewlett is a former editor of

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BBC Panorama, and among the many strings to his current bow, he

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presents Radio Four's Media Show and is a columnist for The Guardian.

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And the Strangford MLA David McNarry, who after a lifetime as an

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Ulster Unionist, joined the UK Independence Party in October,

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since when UKIP's fortunes have risen, but that is probably down to

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other factors than David's membership. I must also said that

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David has a very fine choice in l'Equipe this evening. Excellent! -

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- in a neck where this evening. And that's our line-up for

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tonight's Spotlight Special. And you at home have your part to

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play. We want to know what you think about the burning issues of

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the day. You can text your comments

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throughout the programme to 81771. You can also phone and email us,

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and you can tweet your comments to us at: #spotlightni. The details

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are on your screen now. Calls cost up to 5p per minute from

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most landlines. Calls from mobiles may cost considerably more. Texts

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:02:12.:02:12.

will be charged at your standard message rate. Let us turn now to a

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work first question. It comes from a student. How can you justify the

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Union flag not been flown in a UK capital city. This honestly we

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first to the flying of the Union flag only been allowed on

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designated days. Let us turn to Declan Coney first. It is the UK

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capital city, so why can't you fly the flag of the UK? It is an issue

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of equality. Belfast is a changing city. Last night there was further

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change. I do not think we can reduce this issue to zero politics.

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Almost half the population of Belfast are nationalist and

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republican people. The decision made last night was the right one.

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It was a decision for equality and we need to continue travelling in

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that direction. I think it is lamentable to listen to the

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comments from some politicians. I must ask what does that response to

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fundamental issues of equality and mutual respect in our society and

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the step forward that was taken last night say to nationalists and

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republicans in Belfast? Belfast needs to be a city for all of its

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citizens. He taught about zero-sum politics, but you would have liked

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Nationalists and republicans did not get what they wanted last night.

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They would have preferred it that the flag was not flown at all.

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Unionist didn't get what they wanted either. We had a compromise.

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That compromise is a compromise which is absurd daily in Stormont,

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so let us take the Template from Stormont and applied to the

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politics of City Hall in Belfast. Why not, or Jeffrey Donaldson?

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most people in Belfast the real problems in Belfast are about

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health, education, employment. is a big issue for you. We will

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confronted with it, but in terms of priorities, this is not a priority

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for most people out there and I were consultation in Belfast

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revealed that the majority, an overwhelming majority of people who

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responded to the consultation said they did not want to change the

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status quo. Sinn Fein took about equality, but mutual respect means

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you respect the traditions and identities on both sides of the

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communities in Northern Ireland. Right now, Unionists are filled

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that Sinn Fein are disrespected -- Unionists feel that Sinn Fein are

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disrespect in them. We are part of the United Kingdom and Sinn Fein

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should show some respect for and Britishness. While changes would

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you make to accommodate nationalist aspirations. A nationalists have

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the right to pursue their culture and identity. Northern Ireland is

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part of the United Kingdom and that will not change. Therefore, the

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Union flag ought to be respected. If I was living in Dublin, even if

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I were a Unionist, I would respect the fact that the settled will of

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the people in the republic is to have a separate state and I would

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respect their flag. The flag of this country is the Union flag and

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it should be given its place. would like to say very clearly that

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there is a solution. There are 27 countries in the European Union. I

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believe that every flag in the European Union should be flown

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around City Hall and other countries that invest, when they

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invest for jobs, I believe put them up as well and then everybody's

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happy. The gentleman down here in the blue shirt. Respect for one

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another and respect to one another's communities and

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traditions, flying the Union flag over Belfast City Hall has nothing

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to do with it. The vast majority of people here want to live in peace

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and the flag flying over Belfast has nothing to do with it.

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Politicians should move on. We have a shared future together. People

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are saying just move on. I hope we she was that easy. For someone like

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me who was in Stormont, the decision last night was paid back

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politics. These people, this man beside Nina has an agenda that is

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completely different from mine. I will live with that. Thank God I am

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allowed to live with it today because it's not so long ago that

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my life and many people like me's lives were in jeopardy because

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people could not live alongside me. It is hurting a lot of people, last

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night's decision and it will leave a lasting scar on how we develop or

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move on, as this Gentleman says. I am not too sure that people

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understand, people understood that when they decided that the way

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forward was the Belfast Agreement that they left things behind them

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because I understood as a Unionist that in agreeing to the Belfast

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Agreement, Sinn Fein were agreeing to recognise the constitutional

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position of Northern Ireland and that gives Northern Ireland and

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entitlement to fly the Union flag in its City Hall, as a gentleman

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said, it's a capital city. That is where it should be left. But he was

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a democratic vote of the city council. It was a democratic vote

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in the City Council aided and abetted by the one-party that has

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this Ballers mandate. But these still a democratic vote. Gentlemen

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in the front. The people who agreed to take the flak macro down were

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all signatories in the Good Friday Agreement. -- take the flag down.

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Gen to none in the red top. believe the violence last night was

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an act of frustration based on the people who were carrying it forward.

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The reality is that as long as they feel their political awareness is

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being undermined, that will be the case. The real way they can change

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that true democracy is to get out and vote. Unionist people in

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Northern Ireland for the last 25 years have not voted and they

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cannot expect to get their views seen and heard if they don't.

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struck me, and I am a Catholic, was what people dislike was the level

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of contrivance. There was a strong level of contrivance in the debate

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and the response which resulted in the violence last night. Jeffrey,

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this is not the priority for the majority of people in Belfast and I

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agree with you. It is not to dismiss traditional culture. We are

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going through a different and difficult process in terms of

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equality. However, they cannot be equality in everything. I dislike

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the fact that it was so contrived. So Steve, I hesitate to get you

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involved, but you have made lots of programmes in Northern Ireland.

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Well, not in the slightest, I made films in Northern Ireland when it

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was a very different place. I haven't had a lot to do with

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Northern Ireland since. I maintain an interest. I come here every now

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and then, professionally, I got involved in the Good Friday

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greement because I was at Panorama at the time. The thing that struck

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me, I hate to say this company, because I am on foreign territory

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here, the surprising thing will last night... Only according to

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Declan. Sinn Fein voted for the Union jack to be flown on the top

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of City Hall. When I was in Northern Ireland, they they would

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have ripped it up, and happily shot anyone seen carrying it... Not Sinn

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Fein, of course. The thing that stood out to me, there was the

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Republican movement saying "yes, fly the Union jack on top of the

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city Hall." That is a symbol of what is changing in Northern

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Ireland. I look at this place with aur really because it it come so

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far, such a very, very long way and I maybe wrong about this, I hope

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I'm right, I maybe wrong, there are moments when the old thing twitches

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and this is perhaps a bit of a twitch, I hope it is a twitch.

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Lots more hands. The gentleman in the striped jumper.

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The only reason why why Sinn Fein had the vote for designated days

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because the Alliance Party didn't want the flag to come down. That

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was the compromise. If Sinn Fein had the majority, or the

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Republicans had the majority they would vote for the flag to come

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down. Once upon a time, standing on

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principle would have led to escalation. Maybe it was for

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political end, or a cynical manoeuvre. I wouldn't under

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estimate how the Unionist population feel today after the

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shenanigans of last night's vote. I really fear this has put us back a

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long way in what we're trying to do and what you alluded to we had

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achieved. We have a lot to overcome. The gentleman in the red tie and

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the gentleman at the front. It was contrived on Facebook and we

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are small fish in a big pool. The whole world sees us and we

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shouldn't be using social networking sites like that.

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The gentleman in the red tie? to clarify, I don't think what the

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gentleman said there is accurate. It wasn't a vote in favour of the

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flag being flown on designated days. Councillor McVeigh made it clear,

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it was a tactical vote. And the effect of the vote was to

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have the flag flown on the designated number of days? It was

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not a positive step. Noel, we struck a compromise and in

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the interest of ensuring there is equality and inclusion for all

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citizens in Belfast. Declan, I want to ask you a quick question. There

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is another compromise now they flag the flag 365 days of the year on

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the war memorial, would you accept that? I think that is a piece of

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gratuitous... I am not going to take it any further than that.

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You don't approve. It is important to make this point. It It

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politicises it. Why didn't they suggest the flag being flown over

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the Cenotaph... The Aliesance Party said they might support that. The

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second question comes from Timothy Haslett. Does the panel think that

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statutory regulation is necessary? Well, we know, I hope we know what

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the Leveson Report is. It has been Cameron is not happy about the

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legal under pinning of it and great shenanigans going on, again that

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word in Westminster, but Steve, we brought you over for a reason, you

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know, Leveson a good idea, a bad idea? Well, it was necessary. It

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was necessary when David Cameron called it phone hacking, the

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dreadful hacking of Milly Dowler's voicemail. It riched a pitch when

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something had to happen and periodically it does. Is it

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statstry regulation? Well, you could argue about that. What

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Leveson could say, new tribunal, do what you are told. He didn't. He

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said the press will regulate itself and the regulation of the press

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will be validated by a body recognised in statute. What statute

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does, it says here the principles and we are going to sit back and we

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are going to validate the press's self regulator. A lot of people are

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saying if you don't have the statutory back-up, you don't have

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any come compulsion, there is no compulsion in the Leveson Report.

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He doesn't ask the question what happens if the newspapers don't get

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involved? He says the Government would have to consider statutory

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regulation possibly by Ofcom. It is not statutory regulation of the

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sort that perhaps it could have been. However, you are not out of

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the woods yet because here is why - the body that validates the self

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regulator is, he says, should be Ofcom. As the Minister for Culture

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said, "I appoint the Chairman of Ofcom." the validating body, that

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validates the regulator. What happens When the validating body

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and the regulator falls out. Perhaps they fall out. How much

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intrusion is justified by what level of public interest? If you

:18:06.:18:10.

are exposing people strug smuggling or whatever, lots of intrusion is

:18:10.:18:20.
:18:20.:18:21.

justified. If you are looking into some celebrity's love life there is

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a continuum. Supposing there is a rumpus. Somebody gets wrongly

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accused of something. If you have a free press, these things will

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happen. Pressure is on. Sort it out. The validating body, under

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Leveson's proposals has the right to an ad hoc audit of the regulator

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and the validating body is subject to public pressure and before you

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know it, you have the application of public pressure for which read

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political influence on the way the press is regulated. My personal

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view is this proposal, the Leveson proposal, when you get into the

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nuts and bolts of it is very hard, very, very hard to implement which

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is why all the stuff you have seen on the news today, if the press is

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able to come up with something that is Leveson compliant, my guess is

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that is what will happen. Page 1718 of the Leveson Report

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alludes to the Irish model. Just explain that to us and how that

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worked? For those of you who have read Leveson... All of us. It could

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be described as Leveson-light. We have had a form of self-regulation

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in the form of Press Council and Press Ombudsman. That was given a a

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statutory recognition and now the reports in the Republic of Ireland

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can take into account whether a newspaper engaged with the Press

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Council or not. It can be taken into into consideration. A lot of

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people were cherned -- concerned about that, what I can say as a

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working journalist, to date so far it has has worked. Unlike Leveson's

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roe posal our press council can't impose fines. It is funded by the

:20:11.:20:16.

newspaper industry. And the newspaper industry has a minority

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on the Press Council. It is working because it was designed to ward

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ward off two threats which was the threat of a privacy law and full

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statutory regulation. Leveson goes further. We live as working

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journalist and beyond that because it is an issue of civic society, we

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live with the threat of full statutory regulation and a privacy

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law. Where I felt Leveson fell down. It failed to acknowledge the force

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of the criminal law. It is significant that for the kind of

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offences that were highlighting in Leveson we are seeing the criminal

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law, we are seeing prosecutions take place. The second reason why I

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thought it was naive with the greatest respect to Lord Justice

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Leveson, was in the shifting of the landscape of the media, I spent

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three months in America this year as part of a fellowship look

:21:11.:21:17.

looking at the future of the media in a digical age and and Leveson

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seems dated because the real threat to people's privacy, when you look

:21:21.:21:25.

at the mainstream press, we have strict regulation in the form of

:21:26.:21:31.

contempt of court laws, our defamation Act has been a chilling

:21:31.:21:36.

effect on our journalism... Twitter and the others blow it out of the

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water? They do. It is in the mainstream media. You cannot ignore

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the shift in media landscape where everyone is potentially a citizen

:21:49.:21:53.

journalist. Sinn Fein, Declan, support

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regulation by the DUP says is bizarre given that the Republican

:21:57.:22:02.

newspaper has broken every rule and many rules that had not been

:22:02.:22:06.

thought of in its history, how do you do you square that one? Well,

:22:06.:22:10.

the DUP would say that. However, of course the newspaper observes the

:22:10.:22:20.

highest standards of ethic and professional journalism... When it

:22:20.:22:25.

said Margaret Thatcher was a murderer and it named members of

:22:25.:22:29.

the security force who were ill- treating prisoners... Noel, you

:22:29.:22:33.

will remember very well when the been and the media was an integral

:22:33.:22:37.

part of our conflict and was responsible and some of the

:22:37.:22:40.

audience may not be old enough to know or remember this when Sinn

:22:40.:22:44.

Fein spokespersons were denied the right to speak for themselves, when

:22:44.:22:47.

they were brought on to the television and on to the radio.

:22:47.:22:52.

That was the Government law. That wasn't the BBC. If we want to have

:22:52.:22:57.

a discussion about the free press then I think we need to remember

:22:57.:23:05.

why Leveson sat and he was convened in inquiry because a little girl

:23:05.:23:10.

Milly Dowler was murdered and her family's grief was invaded in the

:23:10.:23:17.

most gratuitous of ways and I think Leveson has done... Leveson has

:23:17.:23:23.

done some service. He called time on the fact that he will that

:23:23.:23:27.

elements of the British press had lost the run of themselves over the

:23:27.:23:32.

last 10 to 20 years. He has pointed in the direction of achieving a

:23:32.:23:35.

balance by suggesting how regulation can be put in place,

:23:35.:23:42.

whilst at the same time ensuring that we see a free unfettered press.

:23:42.:23:47.

I would like to think that Leveson would act as a watershed, a

:23:47.:23:51.

watershed where we will see the renewal of the British press and it

:23:51.:23:56.

begins once more to shine a light where there is corruption, shine a

:23:56.:24:00.

light on injustice and to do some service to us all by ensuring we

:24:00.:24:04.

are better informed in relation to developing ideas and ensuring there

:24:04.:24:14.
:24:14.:24:17.

is better Government. The media needs to get back to its old credo.

:24:17.:24:20.

The Leveson Inquiry should have gone into the privacy laws. And

:24:21.:24:25.

people on the phone was brought together because of that little

:24:25.:24:29.

girl tragic, yeah. People on the phones, they are growing all the

:24:29.:24:34.

time. They are invading into free space. There are people out there

:24:34.:24:40.

with scanners and they can listen into your or my phone call on the

:24:40.:24:43.

mobile phone. Leveson didn't say about that.

:24:43.:24:46.

Jeffrey Donaldson? We are not in favour of statutory regulation and

:24:46.:24:51.

something akin to the model that operates in the Republic of Ireland

:24:51.:24:59.

is a good starting point, but if it done work, we may need to look at

:24:59.:25:04.

the the statutory leg lation. -- legislation. A lot of what happened

:25:04.:25:08.

here is contrary to the law. When people say we need statutory

:25:08.:25:11.

regulation, a lot of the journalist were breaking the law and we will

:25:11.:25:15.

see some of them coming before the courts. I agree with Dearbhail,

:25:15.:25:19.

there is a big issue around social media and the things that can be

:25:19.:25:26.

said on social media, everything ranging from threats to defamatory

:25:26.:25:29.

comments and where is the regulation there? And the other

:25:29.:25:34.

issue that Leveson perhaps missed is media ownership. We talk about a

:25:34.:25:37.

free press and I am all for a free press, but how free is a press when

:25:37.:25:41.

half the press in the UK are owned by one man, one corporation, that

:25:42.:25:51.
:25:52.:25:57.

It will take some time to get this legislation established and we need

:25:57.:26:07.
:26:07.:26:11.

to have something in the meantime. We owe it to the families who had

:26:11.:26:16.

been damaged and maligned by a gutter press. That is what happened

:26:16.:26:23.

and it has been revealed. If it had not been revealed, it would

:26:23.:26:30.

probably would still be going on. But I am concerned that what

:26:30.:26:37.

happens in the meantime is that if we do have legislation, I want it

:26:37.:26:44.

to be there as a threat. In other words saying to the media moguls,

:26:44.:26:49.

let us see the colour of your money. That is effectively what David

:26:49.:26:54.

Cameron has said. I am not sure he would be on the same timescale as

:26:54.:27:00.

me. My timescale is we are going to regulate, we are not going to stop

:27:00.:27:04.

the regulation ball rolling. We will keep it in tandem as to what

:27:04.:27:09.

you are doing and if you default, we have something to hit you with.

:27:09.:27:19.
:27:19.:27:24.

If we don't have the legislation, then we are in panic stations.

:27:24.:27:27.

hopefully the proposals will be ready by next week. Cameron doesn't

:27:27.:27:37.

want to make this about legislation. This was theatre today. He wants to

:27:37.:27:42.

be seen to say, this is your last chance. Get on with it all we will

:27:43.:27:48.

legislate. But if it does get to the point of legislation, all his

:27:48.:27:53.

original points will come in. The Press Council of Ireland, the

:27:53.:27:57.

reason that functions is because it has underneath it the sword of

:27:57.:28:02.

Damocles which is the prospect of invasions of privacy been made a

:28:02.:28:10.

criminal offence. There were journalists going to prison if they

:28:10.:28:17.

invade privacy. The idea you could have a law that would send you to

:28:17.:28:24.

prison for doing it, if he got it wrong, it would not be acceptable,

:28:24.:28:34.
:28:34.:28:35.

especially in Britain. Dearbhail answer and that we have

:28:35.:28:42.

to move on. We have to be careful what we wish for. Please don't

:28:42.:28:46.

forget the good work that the press does. If you introduce legislation

:28:46.:28:54.

that prevents the kind of investigative journalism that our

:28:54.:29:00.

mast politicians expenses, etc, on those rare occasions where we do

:29:00.:29:04.

cross the constitutional line, we do so in the belief that the public

:29:05.:29:14.
:29:15.:29:16.

interest is our shield and sword. That has to be the case. We have to

:29:16.:29:26.
:29:26.:29:38.

move on. The next question comes from a student from Londonderry.

:29:39.:29:48.
:29:49.:29:51.

The status of human rights, is it right in terms of the abortion

:29:51.:29:59.

laws? The question is, up our women's fundamental human rights in

:29:59.:30:03.

respect to abortion been negated. This debate has been on both sides

:30:04.:30:12.

of the border. Jeffrey, what do you think? There's a clear majority in

:30:12.:30:19.

Northern Ireland that is pro-life. It is clearly reflected. There was

:30:19.:30:24.

an opinion poll in the Belfast Telegraph last week and only one in

:30:24.:30:34.
:30:34.:30:34.

four in Northern Ireland support pro-choice. It is not a question of

:30:34.:30:41.

politicians trampling on people's rights. They reflect the settled

:30:41.:30:45.

public will and the Northern Ireland that is pro-life. With a

:30:45.:30:49.

great lack of clarity. Experts tell us they don't know whether or not

:30:49.:30:54.

they can perform terminations or not. There is no legal clarity

:30:54.:30:58.

around the common law in Northern Ireland. It has been clarified for

:30:58.:31:03.

some time, it has been in and out of court... So why are we waiting

:31:03.:31:08.

for guidelines? The medical profession have us for guidelines

:31:08.:31:12.

in circumstances where medical abortions can take place under the

:31:12.:31:17.

law. They were challenged in court twice and they are back again and

:31:17.:31:22.

the Health Minister hopes to publish the guidelines once again.

:31:22.:31:26.

But the guidelines they change the law. The law says there are only

:31:26.:31:36.
:31:36.:31:37.

exceptional circumstances where the life of the mother is at risk that

:31:37.:31:42.

an abortion can take place. That is the settled position, and that

:31:42.:31:47.

borders for it that in this part of the United Kingdom we do not have

:31:47.:31:57.
:31:57.:32:00.

the 1967 abortion Act. I then got that is not here. Does clarifying

:32:00.:32:05.

the law automatically liberalise it? That is the fear, that if you

:32:05.:32:11.

gave legal effect to the existing law it would be a Trojan course.

:32:11.:32:14.

The statement by Geoffrey is a line peddled by the Irish government

:32:14.:32:22.

when it was taken to the he the paean -- taken to the European

:32:22.:32:32.
:32:32.:32:36.

Court of Human Rights. The reality is there is synergy between the

:32:36.:32:41.

North and South on this. But the problem is that even though

:32:41.:32:46.

abortion is allowed in a limited circumstances, there is no clarity

:32:46.:32:50.

for women and doctors to find out in what circumstances it can be

:32:50.:32:56.

carried out. The great fear is I that soon suicide of a definition

:32:56.:33:05.

of a woman's welfare, there will be a liberal abortion regime. Is there

:33:05.:33:15.
:33:15.:33:18.

a fading influence of the Church? The Church is still a pervasive

:33:18.:33:28.
:33:28.:33:28.

influence. There are people who describe themselves as pro-life

:33:28.:33:38.
:33:38.:33:42.

foot say they might be for a portion in the case of a rape. --

:33:42.:33:48.

in the case of rape. I do wonder if the church influence has a place in

:33:48.:33:51.

secular politics, but regardless of that, there is still a need to

:33:51.:33:57.

clarify the law and I don't believe that Jeffrey is right. Young man in

:33:57.:34:01.

the front row. How can we allow this situation to continue? We are

:34:01.:34:11.
:34:11.:34:14.

talking about young women... Not so young. Not so young indeed. People

:34:14.:34:21.

have to get, for example, a ferry to Liverpool to have an abortion.

:34:21.:34:27.

This has to stop. The death of that poor woman in Galway should not

:34:27.:34:32.

have happened. How we can allow this to continue in a civilised

:34:32.:34:39.

society is beyond me. Sinn Fein are accused of operating a forked

:34:39.:34:46.

tongue in this with that given issues in the north and south.

:34:46.:34:52.

is a deeply sensitive issue for Iris Society as a whole. I agreed

:34:52.:34:57.

that we provide no service to the discussion by using labels or pro-

:34:57.:35:04.

life or pro-choice. We cannot generalise an approach to the issue.

:35:04.:35:10.

I know two situations are the same, nor do wiping that we can

:35:10.:35:14.

criminalise women who have felt they had no alternative other than

:35:14.:35:20.

to travel abroad for a termination. The women I know who have had to

:35:20.:35:27.

make that decision, and it is a difficult decision to to make, but

:35:27.:35:33.

did not want to be in a position. We need a second that discussion

:35:33.:35:39.

and there is a need in the south to ensure that the legislation which

:35:39.:35:49.
:35:49.:35:49.

the Supreme Court ruling of 1992 called for is now an active to

:35:49.:35:59.
:35:59.:36:02.

create that certainty for women and medical practitioners. Your party

:36:02.:36:11.

talks about wanting legislation in the republic... In the north, we

:36:11.:36:16.

need greater definition. We need guidelines for the medical

:36:16.:36:22.

practitioners. Dealers said to have to positions? Absolutely not. Sinn

:36:22.:36:26.

Fein is opposed to abortion and the circumstances in society that give

:36:26.:36:31.

rise to that, but we understand that when the life of a mother is

:36:31.:36:36.

jeopardised, there needs to be the option provided to medical

:36:36.:36:44.

professionals to intervene. This is a hard one. I am not a religious

:36:44.:36:49.

person, but I absolutely see that this is an issue close to many

:36:50.:36:55.

people's hearts. However, it seems to me that as soon as you describe

:36:55.:37:02.

for human rights to an unborn child, at any point in the process, you

:37:02.:37:06.

create a recipe for significant difficulties because once the

:37:06.:37:14.

foetus becomes a human life, beholden of all human rights, then

:37:14.:37:20.

it is quite hard to say you would allow abortion even to save the

:37:20.:37:25.

mother's life, to be honest. How do you choose between two human lives

:37:25.:37:29.

that have the same intrinsic value is virtually impossible. I am drawn

:37:29.:37:36.

to a couple of things. I don't think it will be popular. There is

:37:36.:37:43.

a logic to say that for human rights are a quiet at birth and not

:37:43.:37:50.

at 40 weeks, 20 weeks, or whatever. At birth, be born child has for

:37:50.:37:57.

human rights. Up to that point you have to approach these things with

:37:57.:38:01.

sensitivity. I don't know anyone who isn't pro-life and the idea

:38:01.:38:08.

that by allowing abortion, by allowing a more sympathetic

:38:08.:38:11.

abortion law you open the floodgates to a deluge of abortions

:38:11.:38:15.

that otherwise would not happen, instinctively I don't think that is

:38:16.:38:25.
:38:26.:38:29.

right. So I it advocates that women should have the right to choose.

:38:29.:38:39.

Gentleman head with the scarf on. In the Indian culture, we don't

:38:39.:38:48.

like to have any children aborted. My question is these medical

:38:48.:38:54.

practitioners were unable to just the severity of a poor woman and

:38:54.:39:02.

they let her die. There is an inquiry, so we can't say what

:39:02.:39:08.

exactly happened. But her husband is asking for a public inquiry.

:39:08.:39:12.

There are a lot of demonstrations in India at the moment. It is a hot

:39:12.:39:20.

issue that has been swept under the carpet. What I find intolerable

:39:20.:39:24.

about the case there Gentleman raised his here we had a foreign

:39:24.:39:28.

national expecting a baby in the republic and told this is a

:39:28.:39:35.

Catholic country and the law is that an abortion must never happen

:39:35.:39:41.

here. To me, by a young woman didn't go into hospital wanting an

:39:41.:39:48.

abortion, and I'd been she was treated abominably. It has left a

:39:48.:39:57.

terrible lack of understanding in terms of, and I confess not knowing

:39:57.:40:01.

to what extent does anyone's religion allow them to play God in

:40:01.:40:05.

the way they did? And would anyone entering a hospital here in

:40:05.:40:12.

Northern Ireland be told by anyone in that hospital, a surgeon or a

:40:12.:40:22.
:40:22.:40:27.

doctor, this is a Catholic country and abortion must not happen here.

:40:27.:40:30.

I'm a legislator, that is my job and that is what I have been

:40:30.:40:35.

elected to do. We have a lot at the moment and I am quite content with

:40:35.:40:41.

it that when we approach these guidelines, I need to know, I need

:40:41.:40:48.

to be more informed, to be honest, we need to be informed about the

:40:48.:40:58.
:40:58.:40:59.

questions a rising over mental health. Legislators in Northern

:40:59.:41:03.

Ireland are in a difficult situation. I am a father and a

:41:03.:41:09.

grandfather... You need clarity to sum up. I pink the population is

:41:09.:41:19.
:41:19.:41:24.

clarity. The next question comes from a solicitor. Does a border

:41:24.:41:33.

poll lead to nothing more than a political strategy? People have

:41:33.:41:36.

been saying they don't need a border poll because most Catholics

:41:36.:41:40.

think they are better off where they are right now let us see what

:41:40.:41:48.

Declan Kearney things about that Peter Robinson's comments fly in

:41:48.:41:52.

the face of election. The majority of the Republican Nationalist

:41:52.:41:57.

people are voting for parties which owe their allegiance to reunion

:41:57.:42:03.

nigh quation -- reunification. 46% of Catholics were happy with

:42:03.:42:08.

being in Northern Ireland and ds and different to voting on

:42:08.:42:12.

traditional party lines? I prefer to live in the real world and to

:42:12.:42:16.

deal with these issues in real-time and Jeffrey and others have

:42:17.:42:26.
:42:27.:42:28.

attempted to bring forward this myth ol gee. The fact of life is

:42:28.:42:31.

that the nationalist and republican people of this part of Ireland are

:42:31.:42:38.

looking for a united Ireland. The border poll is provided for in the

:42:38.:42:43.

terms of the Good Friday agreement. Now if Peter Robinson or the DUP

:42:43.:42:48.

have ne doubt over that -- any doubt over that, then let them not

:42:48.:42:52.

fear the border poll. Let's Call the border people and let the

:42:52.:42:57.

people make their mind up instead of relying on assertions or

:42:57.:43:00.

interpretations by the DUP leadership.

:43:00.:43:08.

Jeffrey, go for it. There is nothing to fear. Declan's job is to

:43:08.:43:12.

convince Unionists that we should have a united Ireland. If last

:43:12.:43:19.

night was aur attempt to -- your attempt to we are we are swayed

:43:19.:43:29.
:43:29.:43:45.

unionists, he have a long way to go, Declan.

:43:45.:43:47.

APPLAUSE As for, I believe that the people

:43:47.:43:50.

of Northern Ireland have a settled will about where we are right now

:43:50.:43:52.

and frankly again I come back to this Noel, do you think in the

:43:52.:43:55.

middle of the worst recession that what people need is a debate and

:43:55.:43:57.

the politicians knocking their doors talking about constitutional

:43:57.:43:59.

issues. In my constituency, the people could come to see me, rarely

:43:59.:44:01.

if ever these days raise the constitutional issue.

:44:01.:44:03.

Peter Robinson is is saying we don't need a poll because Catholics

:44:03.:44:06.

know they are better off here? have no doubt. The Belfast

:44:06.:44:08.

Agreement is clear, a border poll should be held if the Secretary of

:44:08.:44:11.

State believes there is a shift in public png. There is no evidence,

:44:11.:44:14.

bar none, that there has been any shift in in public opinion

:44:14.:44:18.

favouring a united Ireland. Now, that's what the law says and if the

:44:18.:44:21.

law says that, let's get on with the job of providing descent

:44:21.:44:23.

Government for the people of Northern Ireland. Let's prove that

:44:23.:44:30.

we have already agreed we can... Peter Robinson says he has achieved

:44:30.:44:36.

that. I remember a myth if only us

:44:36.:44:40.

Catholics had more babies that would be a solution for a united

:44:40.:44:46.

Ireland. I think it is way too soon for a a border poll, if Sinn Fein

:44:47.:44:50.

are serious about you know reaching out to other communities, there

:44:50.:44:53.

will be a time and a place for that if the population shift demands. I

:44:53.:44:56.

think the priority, we are in the early stages of a young peace

:44:56.:44:59.

process. Our priorities should be working on that, building on that

:44:59.:45:04.

and cementing it and reaching out to people to Protestants and to

:45:04.:45:08.

others in our community. Again, getting back to this issue of

:45:09.:45:12.

contrivance and this stoking in the background and looking for a

:45:12.:45:15.

political fight and an argument that will bring people in from the

:45:15.:45:18.

extremes into the mainstream. I grew up with that. I don't want

:45:18.:45:22.

that anymore. I don't want it for my family, for my friends and I

:45:22.:45:27.

think it is des picketable. -- despicable at this this point in

:45:27.:45:32.

time. APPLAUSE

:45:32.:45:37.

David McNarry? You have nearly said it all all as far as I'm concerned.

:45:37.:45:44.

We will move on, then. Steve? just becauser wearing the same tie

:45:44.:45:50.

as me. Bring it on and while we are at it, let's have a poll on Europe.

:45:50.:45:55.

Let Northern Ireland... There we go. That's the one thing we want to get

:45:55.:45:58.

out of. They are not taking Northern Ireland out of the United

:45:59.:46:04.

Kingdom, but we want to take the United Kingdom out of Europe.

:46:04.:46:10.

gentleman on the back row in the red tie. This point was raised last

:46:10.:46:14.

week, Jeffrey. You think it is black and white, it is either a

:46:14.:46:16.

poll for a united Ireland or staying in the United Kingdom.

:46:16.:46:25.

Think outside the box and and what is wrong with having a discussion

:46:25.:46:30.

on what it might be like if it was joint administration. There is no

:46:30.:46:40.
:46:40.:46:40.

point in sweeping it under the carpet. I think, will you not

:46:40.:46:48.

engage for the people here? In the long tradition of politics in

:46:48.:46:51.

Northern Ireland, if there is a border poll, vote early!

:46:51.:46:56.

Very good, thank you. The next question which is from

:46:56.:47:01.

Rupert a financial adviser from County Down. Where are you? Over

:47:01.:47:09.

here. Corporation tax aviederam -- avoider Amazon predicted Cyber

:47:09.:47:14.

Monday as its busiest day. How will this affect our high streets?

:47:14.:47:23.

Amazon made �207 million and paid �1.8 million in tax. Google �2.5

:47:23.:47:30.

billion and �Starbucks �3 billion in the last 13 years and �8.6

:47:30.:47:34.

million paid in tax. Oh dear. Oh dear. But they are selling stuff

:47:34.:47:39.

and how will it affect our high streets, David McNarry? Well, it is

:47:39.:47:42.

affecting the high street, undoubtedly it is affecting the

:47:42.:47:48.

high street. It is affecting the high street because that's how you

:47:48.:47:54.

want to shop. That's how we want to shop. �465 million was meant to be

:47:54.:47:57.

turned over this morning in a matter of hours by people going

:47:57.:48:00.

online and placing their orders. I understand understand now that you

:48:00.:48:05.

make the arrangements for collections. What is very important

:48:05.:48:15.

is the impact that it is having here locally. In my constituency, I

:48:15.:48:22.

have got Newtownards, too many shops boarded up. I go on to Comber

:48:22.:48:30.

and too many shops shops boarded up and I go into saintfield and there

:48:30.:48:34.

is too many shops boarded up. There is the competition from the

:48:34.:48:37.

supermarkets. There is the competition as to what is value for

:48:37.:48:41.

money? What is the he local economy and how do we put it together? We

:48:41.:48:46.

are dabbling here and I'm going to criticise Sammy Wilson and I don't

:48:46.:48:51.

often do that... What a devil you are tonight! I am going to

:48:52.:48:57.

criticise him. This tie has gone to your head, Noel. I am going to

:48:57.:49:00.

criticise him for dragging his feet on corporation tax. This country

:49:01.:49:04.

needs corporation tax yesterday. Well, it is not his decision, of

:49:04.:49:06.

course. Hang on a second.

:49:06.:49:10.

We are not talking about corporation tax tonight.

:49:10.:49:15.

Let's bring in Steve... I think we should be talking... You may think

:49:15.:49:18.

that, but we are not going to because it is about the internet

:49:18.:49:22.

and the high street and not about corporation tax.

:49:22.:49:26.

But they are the ones that evaded corporation tax, Noel.

:49:26.:49:29.

If all these big companies were paying more tax it would provide

:49:29.:49:33.

more jobs in this country, would it not? Well, it would make the

:49:33.:49:37.

pressure off the public finances whether that would produce more

:49:37.:49:41.

jobs or a lower deficit. There are several things going on here,

:49:41.:49:45.

aren't there? On one hand, you have transfer pricing on a significant

:49:45.:49:51.

scale so that the profits all accumulate in the lowest tax

:49:51.:49:54.

regimes because every time you buy a Starbucks coffee, the beans are

:49:54.:49:59.

bought in Switzerland or have to be bought by the franchises and the

:49:59.:50:03.

shops at prices which mean that in effect, the profitability of the

:50:03.:50:11.

outlet is low, and the profitability of the coffee bean

:50:11.:50:16.

supplier is low and of course, companies rig it for their own ends.

:50:16.:50:20.

If companies are making significant amounts of money, in a particular

:50:20.:50:23.

territory, as good citizens, they ought to go out of their way and

:50:23.:50:28.

Starbucks are saying they will. They have to pay their dews, but it

:50:28.:50:31.

is complicated because in some cases, I heard someone say this on

:50:31.:50:35.

another TV programme, but it was a good point, you go to a cinema, you

:50:35.:50:39.

pay your money to get in, now the people who have made the film own

:50:39.:50:43.

the property, so how do you divide the take sntion well, -- takings?

:50:43.:50:50.

Well, the people who made the film albeit they made it in America or

:50:51.:50:55.

India, shouldn't get their cut. There is value in intellectual

:50:55.:50:59.

property and that doesn't always sit in the place where the the

:50:59.:51:02.

transaction is done. It is complicated. On the face of it,

:51:02.:51:07.

there has been tax avoidance on a significant scale and it would

:51:07.:51:10.

reduce the pressure. In terms of the high street, one point. What

:51:10.:51:14.

shops have got to do is what newspapers have got to do is find a

:51:14.:51:19.

way, fin ways to add value for their customers in the internet age

:51:19.:51:23.

and merely supplying the goods probably doesn't do it.

:51:23.:51:26.

The gentleman in the second row. There are two issues with this

:51:26.:51:32.

really. One is the retailers aren't playing on a level playing field.

:51:32.:51:37.

When Amazon are paying 3% VAT and everybody else is paying 20% that

:51:37.:51:43.

needs to be sorted out. And until that is sorted out, nothing happens

:51:43.:51:47.

and when that is done, then it won't be cheaper for these

:51:47.:51:50.

companies to operate from abroad and maybe they will bring their

:51:50.:51:56.

jobs to this country. The lady in front row? I wanted to say that

:51:56.:51:59.

public service ins Northern Ireland at the moment are facing

:51:59.:52:02.

unprecedented cuts. Families are struggling. They are really

:52:02.:52:08.

struggling to cope and to manage their family finances. And it seems

:52:08.:52:12.

immoral that large companies are getting away from contributing the

:52:12.:52:15.

money they should be contributing fairly in tax to then fund the

:52:15.:52:18.

public services. Jeffrey Donaldson, the high street

:52:18.:52:22.

and Amazon and the other giants? There is no doubt the high streets

:52:22.:52:26.

are suffering and Lisburn, for example, you can see the effects of

:52:26.:52:32.

that and in defence of Sammy Wilson, he is introducing an extension to

:52:32.:52:36.

the small business rate relief scheme. Small businesses don't pay

:52:36.:52:42.

corporation tax, but they pay rates and they pay high rates in places

:52:42.:52:48.

like Lisburn. This scheme will mean another 3,500 business will benefit

:52:48.:52:52.

from significant rates relief. That is the kind of change that the

:52:52.:52:54.

assembly can make in helping small business get through this recession.

:52:54.:52:59.

It is tough. We need to do something about those who are

:52:59.:53:02.

evading corporation tax. David, it is on the desk of the Prime

:53:02.:53:10.

Minister. It is away from Sammy Wilson now.

:53:10.:53:14.

Dearbhail? One of the reasons why people might not want to join or or

:53:14.:53:18.

have a united Ireland, there are fears the Republic will fall off

:53:18.:53:23.

the cliff if our corporation tax rate was changed. We have attracted

:53:23.:53:29.

some of the biggest names including Google and Amazon and that's an

:53:30.:53:32.

important part of the Ireland's economy and there are fears over

:53:32.:53:36.

losing that. In In terms of what the high street can do, there are

:53:36.:53:40.

similarities with the media and other industries. No sector in

:53:40.:53:43.

society has been untouched by the creative destruction of the

:53:43.:53:49.

internet. It revolutionised every aspect of our lives. There needs to

:53:49.:53:53.

be greater investment in local communities, but if this is the

:53:53.:53:58.

long-term change, it is something we have to adopt to rather than

:53:58.:54:08.
:54:08.:54:10.

crib and moan about. The internet has a a devastating

:54:10.:54:20.
:54:20.:54:21.

fact. We need to do something about jobs. The young lady in the back

:54:21.:54:24.

row? Everybody is talking about what needs to be done for the high

:54:24.:54:27.

street and fair enough, people will go for where they are getting the

:54:27.:54:31.

best deal, but bar talking about corporation tax, what is being done

:54:31.:54:37.

to attract shoppers back to the high street? Declan Kearney? This

:54:37.:54:43.

evening in Dunloy 140 workers have received notification that they

:54:43.:54:47.

have lost their jobs. That's the reality check for us all. The fact

:54:47.:54:51.

is we are dealing with rip off economics. It was the rip off

:54:51.:54:55.

economics that was pursued by the developers and the bankers and now

:54:55.:55:02.

we are we are seeing it on the part of the big companies.

:55:02.:55:07.

Those who make the most should pay the most. We need to see that type

:55:07.:55:12.

of initiative and intervention being brought into play to foster

:55:12.:55:16.

and to undepin the role of small and medium entier prices within our

:55:16.:55:21.

community and the small and local shop Holders in our high streets.

:55:21.:55:25.

We need to protect local business. We need to make sure that local

:55:25.:55:28.

business flourishes, but we need to make sure that the people who are

:55:28.:55:31.

making the most most start to pay the most as well.

:55:31.:55:41.
:55:41.:55:44.

The gentleman here in the tie? APPLAUSE

:55:44.:55:47.

I would like to say Britain, the the Treasury has lifted �30 billion

:55:47.:55:51.

in fuel tax. There is a lot of garages across Northern Ireland are

:55:51.:55:54.

forming up and doing away with man and woman power. How is that going

:55:54.:55:59.

to be addressed? I don't have time. Thank you, sir.

:55:59.:56:04.

We must move on. The last question comes from a marketing consultant

:56:04.:56:14.
:56:14.:56:20.

Will any of the panel be following the Pope on Twitter? The Pope's

:56:20.:56:26.

Newt site is up and running. He will not beat tweeting and to all

:56:26.:56:34.

12th December. He already has a hundreds of thousands of followers.

:56:34.:56:43.

Dearbhail, would you be a follower? The family. I think I was among the

:56:43.:56:48.

first followers. It is intriguing, but it shows you the extent that

:56:48.:56:58.
:56:58.:57:03.

Vatican and others -- that the Vatican and others are going to in

:57:03.:57:08.

terms of social medium. I haven't been following the Pope up until

:57:08.:57:13.

now and it is highly unlikely I would take up the offer. I would be

:57:13.:57:17.

interested to see what trouble he get into because it does appear to

:57:17.:57:23.

me, you go on this Twitter and someone catches you out somewhere

:57:23.:57:33.
:57:33.:57:39.

along the line. What do you think, Geoffrey. -- Jeffrey? I suspect I

:57:39.:57:47.

am with David on this. We follow Chelsea, by the way. I am more

:57:47.:57:53.

interested in knowing who the next Chelsea manager will be. Maybe

:57:53.:58:01.

following the Pope will give the divine intervention! Will he be it

:58:02.:58:07.

a high-minded or will it be, it's Friday, a fish finger sandwiches

:58:07.:58:17.
:58:17.:58:22.

again? Declan? I think I will tweet over the Ulster championships.

:58:22.:58:29.

A studio audience puts questions to Jeffrey Donaldson DUP MP, Sinn Fein's Declan Kearney, UKIP MLA David McNarry, media commentator Steve Hewlett and journalist Dearbhail McDonald. Noel Thompson presents.


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