European Election Debate Spotlight


European Election Debate

Noel Thompson chairs a special edition of the programme as candidates for the European Parliament face an audience of voters.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Spotlight's Special's European election debate.

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Our studio audience will have the qhans chance to put questions to the

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candidates. Our audience is made up of grass-roots political supporters

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of the ten parties in the race with a sprinkling of people who haven't

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made up their minds yet. You can follow us on Twitter. And we begin

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by allowing the candidates to set out their stalls individually. Each

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will have one minute to sell their wares, I shall interrupt them at the

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60 second mark. At the end of our debate, the candidates will have

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another chance to set out their debate. I invite, the Sinn Fein

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candidate, to come to the podium. Ireland's place is in Europe, but

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not part of the cosy, Conservative consensus in Europe. I was the only

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MEP who voted against the cuts, cuts to farmers, rural dwellers, cuts for

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businesses, cuts for SMEs, we need to draw down funding for small

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businesses through the competitive programme. We need to access the #

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80 billion. Sinn Fein has an alternative vision. Getting people

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back to work. Those in work. Supporting those out of work. We

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advance the peace process and we work to halt immigration. Sinn Fein

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is standing in every constituency in Ireland. If you want a strong, Sinn

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Fein voice then vote for us. APPLAUSE

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The candidates are appearing in the order deck tated by their first

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preference votes in the 2009 election. So next up, it is the

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DUP's Diane Dodds. APPLAUSE

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Good evening. Since I was elected to the European Parliament five years

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ago, I have been standing up for Northern Ireland. Statistics show

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that I'm the most active MEP in Northern Ireland. I'm proud that

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I've been able to help churches and communities. Access over 6 6 million

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of funding. That's make ago real difference to people's lives. This

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election is primarily about who can get the best deal for Northern

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Ireland. If elected, I will continue to work to get the most from Europe

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for our farmers, our fishermen, our businesses and our communities. To

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succeed, Northern Ireland needs its strongest voice in Europe. At this

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election, I don't want to see unionism split and divided. The DUP

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is the best party to make sure our voice is heard. On Thursday, I'm

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asking you to vote Diane Dodds number one and transfer to other

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Unionists. Your minute is up. Perfectly on

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time. Thank you. APPLAUSE

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Next up, the Ulster Unionist Party's Jim Nicholson.

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APPLAUSE Thank you, Noel. Europe needs to get

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real. The last few years have been difficult for Northern Ireland and

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confidence in the European Union is at an all time low. In this election

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people want to know who is best to defend and represent Northern

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Ireland in Europe. You need someone with a record of delivery, you need

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someone who has driven reform in Europe and you need someone with

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experience. I am your MEP and I have delivered ?2 billion in peace

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funding. I am your MEP who has campaigned for less Europe, but

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better Europe. I am your MEP with the influence and the clout and the

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experience to get the best deal for Northern Ireland. So I look to our

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future and I'm confident, confident that we can reform Europe and I'm

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confident that I am the right man for the job. Thank you.

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APPLAUSE Our next candidate is the SDLP's,

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Alex Attwood. APPLAUSE

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Good evening all. I have been four months on the campaign trail

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listening and learning, but it was a hustings event. 5017 and

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18-year-olds that captured why I'm running. When they we polled 49 of

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the 50 said they were for the European Union. They're right,

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whatever our concerns, withdrawal would be folly. Our farmers, our

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exporters and our businesses would lose out. But when polled about

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where their long-term future might be, they said that it would be for

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30% of them outside Northern Ireland. So after all their country

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suffered, and all our people have endured, that's what the current

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generation says and that should not be what the generation of the future

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says. So I ask of you three things. We need strength again in Europe. We

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need people and politicians who are tough, decisive and get things done

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and we need to take Northern Ireland in a hopeful and bold direction. If

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you vote on Thursday... Thank you very much indeed.

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APPLAUSE And now it is the turn of the TUV's

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Jim Allister. APPLAUSE

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Good evening. In this election you have a three-fold opportunity to

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make things better. First, you can improve your representation in

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Brussels. Secondly, you have a golden opportunity to pass your

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verdict on the dismal performance of Stormont where log jam and deadlock

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is causing it not to deliver for you. And then very importantly, at

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last, you have the opportunity to be heard on the constant pandering to

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IRA and Sinn Fein. The on-the-run scandal exposed the skullduggery at

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the heart of the peace process. Now, we've discovered that on more than

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300 occasions, royal prerogative of mercy was offered to terrorists who

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showed no mercy to their innocent victims. If you want to be heard in

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these issues, vote TUV. Jim Allister, thank you very much

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indeed. APPLAUSE

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Now, the Alliance Party's, Anna Lo. APPLAUSE

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Good evening. Northern Ireland is changing. We've become more open and

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diverse. There are many opportunities for us. But mup of our

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politics is divisive and inward looking. Change happens when people

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step forward. Now is the time to show Europe the new phase of -- new

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face of Northern Ireland. I have always been passionately pro-Europe.

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It makes economic sense to be part of a single market of 500 million

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customers. The EU has done a lot more than just about funding. As

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chair of the Environment Committee, I have seen directives that helped

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us protect our environment. As the founding chair of the all-party

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group in Stormont on human trafficking I have seen at first

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hand how member states working together can... Your minute is up.

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Thank you very much indeed. APPLAUSE

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Weren't they all well-behaved so far in the programme? Let's go to our

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first question from the studio audience. It comes from ruth Maxwell

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a chef in Belfast. Ruth. Has the free movement of people from across

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been good or bad for Northern Ireland? Well, imbrayings, of course

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-- immigration, of course has been a Ic.

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The Government wants if capped at 100,000 by 2015. Let's go to Martina

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Anderson. Has it been good for Northern Ireland or not? I think

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that the whole discussion around immigration is being learned by the

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UKIP agenda and the free movement of people across Europe is something

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that is crucially important to the European Union. When you consider

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the amount of our young people in this island alone and in many people

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who have left and gone elsewhere, and the contributions that they

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make, I would say that those households and almost 500,000 people

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have left since the banking crisis. We know their sons and daughters

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make a net contribution to the place wherever they have resided. And

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other EU countries? There are thousands, thousands across England,

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Scotland and Wales who reside in the EU countries. Particularly Spain. So

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there are many people who go to the EU and there are other people from

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the EU who come here. And it benefits us? They make a net

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contribution to our economy. Jim Allister? One of the things that the

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denotes an independent nation is the right to control their own borders

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and the right to set their own policies on such vital matters as I

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will gration. Sadly, one of the consequences of EU membership is

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that that has been stripped away from us and our sovereignty in that

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regard has been removed and we're at the mercy of open house immigration

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from across the EU. Has that been good? In some places, we have had

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some good, hard-working individuals who have come to make a life for

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themselves. In other cases, we've had benefit tourists who are sending

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back money to the rest of Europe. Child benefit being paid to the rest

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of Europe. We have to get to a situation where this nation, the

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United Kingdom, controls its own borders and another consequence of

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the open house... On balance, you say it has been a little bit good

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and a little bit bad. Would you say it is a positive thing for Northern

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Ireland It is a bad thing this nation lost control over its own

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borders. That's not really the question. Has it been a benefit to

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Northern Ireland? No. It has not. One of the consequences has been to

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drive down wages. It created a low page economy and I meet people

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constantly struggling on the minimum wage, who just cannot find enough

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hours to work to try and make ends meet. And one of the consequences of

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floodgate immigration is that it has driven down - it made us into a l

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pay economy. I think overall, it is a negative and fundamentally, this

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nation should control its own borders. Anna Lo. Thank you. I came

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here in 1974 when very few people wanted to come here to Northern

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Ireland, because of the troubles. Immigration is good for any

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countries. It brings diversity and it brings new skills and new ideas.

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At the height of the economic boom here, with the construction industry

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thriving, with the lack of workers, we went out to Poland to recruit

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people. We ended up with 60,000 Polish people working here in the

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construction sites and when the market fell about two-thirds of them

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left. Do the low wage workers force down wages as Jim Allister suggests?

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They are here to divide skills and we do not have enough of, like

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plumbers and electricians and carpenters. When the market

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collapsed, they went back and we have about 20,000 so this is a

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matter of supply and demand. A lot of people come here for jobs that we

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cannot fill. What we do not have the skills. -- or we do not. The recent

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example would be a very big project here, we required 60,000 people for

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an oil rig and we could only field, I think, 40%. 60%, we had to go to

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Scotland and other parts in the EU. Diane Dodds? There is no doubt that

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the European Union needs to be fundamentally reformed so that we

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can once again have control over our own borders. We have said that we

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want this as the key plank of the renegotiation that has been

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promised. Before the referendum. Having said that, Northern Ireland

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is a welcoming place and there are many people who have come here to

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live among us and to make a positive contribution to society and that is

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to be welcomed. You want to pick and choose? Every nation state needs to

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be able to control its own borders, that is a fundamental of any

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sovereign state but what we would like to see is immigration policy

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more directed at economic need and that is a fundamental building block

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of where economic policy should be. Let me also say, we are a welcoming

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people and those people who have come to live among us and make a

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positive contribution to assimilate into society are very welcome and

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the DUP has members from the Polish community. We have translated our

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election literature into as many as seven different languages. We want

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to see people here, we do not want to see the racist attacks that we

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have seen in recent days. Racism is wrong and the bears no part in

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society and we should not confuse the issue of immigration with the

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wrongful attacks on people because of either their collar or ethnicity.

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-- collar. It takes a long time for the leader of your party to condemn

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these incidents. -- colour. I would repudiate that absolutely, we say

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very clearly from the top of our party to the bottom and the members

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of the party, racism is wrong. Fundamentally wrong in society. We

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condemn it at all levels and we want those people who constructed those

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attacks to be dealt with by the law of the land, that is where any

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Democratic party stands. If you try to close borders, do you not send a

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message that migrants are not welcome? Which can lead to some of

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those attacks? There is a danger of that. I believe in the freedom of

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being able to work but not the freedom of movement to claim and we

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do need in the negotiations, that this will change. And that is an

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area whereby I certainly want sensible immigration policy and that

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is what the Ulster Unionist Party once. -- wants. When Tony Blair

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negotiated these border deals after 2005, they actually signed up to

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this. I think our own government needs to make sure that they have

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got it right and they get their own policy right. They are seeking to

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limit this to 100,000 died 2015. And that is to be welcomed. -- by 2015.

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Many people have left our own shores and have gone far away too many

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places throughout this world. If you look at Australia and the United

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States and New Zealand and many people here also work in Europe.

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Alex Attwood, the latest figures show we had more people leaving

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Northern Ireland and coming here by about 2000 so in that sense,

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referring back to the question, has this policy been a good thing for

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Northern Ireland? , make one comment, Jim said that immigration

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had an overall negative. -- can I make. It is a positive for society.

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That immigrants come here and work here. My children go to a school

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that has mixed faith, has mixed social economic background and has a

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mixed ethnic background and they are all the better for it. And myself

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and my wife are better for that. Remember, Jim Nicholson touched upon

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this, if we deny the immigrant and the stranger in our own country, we

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deny ourselves because so many of us currently and over the generations

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have been immigrants and strangers in other countries. If we deny them

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here, we deny the very nature of being from this part of the world.

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And let us recognise that when immigrants come here, the evidence

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is they have little or no impact on unemployment, the evidence is that

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they contribute more in taxes and pensions and benefits and let us

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recognise that 1.4 million of people from Britain and Northern Ireland

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live in the European Union. Letters have no language about this being a

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negative when it is conclusively a benefit to society in terms of

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adversity and the economy. -- diversity. There is such diverse

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views from the panel and I take the point on board that it is important

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that we do have control over the borders but at the same time, I

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agree with Diane Dodds that these racist attacks that are happening in

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East Belfast need to stop. Is it not true that whenever people raise this

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issue of immigration, that it is a certain type of immigration were

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talking about? They are quite comfortable with people coming here

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from America or Australia or countries like that, but whenever

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they are from somewhere else or possibly people of colour, that is

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when they get problems. That is when we get these questions. At the end

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of the day, you are talking about inherent racism. I do not think it

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is racist to fundamentally hold the line that it is London and not

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Brussels who should set immigration policy and that is all that I ask,

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that our nation sets its own policy. And it is a consequence of being

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within the EU that we cannot do that and I think that things are far

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better settled knowing the needs of individual nations by individual

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nations settling their own policies. That is not the point that he made.

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You said that in your view, these were the concluding remarks, but it

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was overall a negative in reply to the question about immigration into

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Northern Ireland. But our own government cannot decide our own

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policy. That is overwhelmingly negative. You went further than that

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and do not rewrite that. In direct response to the question, it is

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important that we condemn racism, it is fundamentally wrong. It is

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fundamentally wrong. You have said that. However, we should not shy

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away from talking about a policy issue which affects us as a

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sovereign state. We need to talk about these issues but we need to

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talk about this in a dignified way. Mr Allister, you are clearly racist,

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that is the image you are portraying. You said you would like

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London to make the decisions. Clearly, you would be opposed to the

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decisions London would want to make so I would be careful about using

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London as an example. London is the only government we have that works

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in Northern Ireland. Why is it parochial party going to make any

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headway if you admit decisions, from London? London is not voting on

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Thursday. With the exception of Sinn Fein, who can make headway in the

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Republic of Ireland, the rest of these parochial parties will make no

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headway at all. Through the chair. I was going to make the point that

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within the area of the rest of Europe, they have a massive problem

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with border control because there is no border control within mainland EU

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and it is only the UK and the Republic of Ireland who are not part

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of this because we have water between us and it is different. They

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have massive problems, especially in the South of Spain, speaking to

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Spanish and French members and Greek members, and you have seen it on

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television, people try to get in on those boats. They have a massive

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bubble. It is a massive problem for the EU, not just us. -- problem. I

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think at the heart of some of these comments we have had, particularly

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from the Unionist candidates, is that they do not want to be in

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Europe. And it strikes me as somewhat strange that they are

:24:52.:24:56.

putting themselves forward. There is only one party which says that, that

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is unfair. Over the campaign... Allow me to finish. Over the

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campaign... Like IRA bombers going across the border to avoid being

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arrested. Martina? Taking statistics about what has happened in the past

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is not going to get us very far in this. And we could both do that. But

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we will return to that if there is such a question. In relation to the

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issue of immigration, it is quite clear that the number of people that

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we have leaving the North, making a contribution, and the number of

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people leaving Ireland making a contribution, they are contributors

:25:59.:26:04.

so when we look at that free movement within Europe, along with

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the other contributions that we benefit from with being in Europe, I

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think they go hand in hand. And I think that is the kind of

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conversation we need to have. One more comment. As Mr Allister brought

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up issues of the past... We will talk about that later... I would

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like to say to Mr Allister, I am beginning to wonder, maybe I should

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vote for you! Because I would prefer to see you shipped off to Europe!

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Let us move on! Jonathan, who is a machine operator from Belfast. Given

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the recent comments made by the Catholic church suggesting that

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Catholics should vote for parties opposed to gay marriage and

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abortion, should religion stay out of politics? Bishop Noel Treanor

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made that pastoral reflection saying voters should act with informed

:27:12.:27:15.

conscience and he said that same-sex marriage and abortion were moral

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absolutes. I suppose that Martina Anderson, he is saying, Roman

:27:21.:27:28.

Catholic voters should vote for the SDLP, who are resolutely pro-life?

:27:29.:27:36.

This is an opportunity for myself, given that insinuation, to put the

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party position clearly. Tell us. I can back my claim. If you listen to

:27:45.:27:51.

me. Sinn Fein is against the extension of the 19 six to seven act

:27:52.:27:59.

and has voted so in the Assembly. We are consistent in our approach in

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the Assembly and in Dublin and in Europe. We do not have any policy of

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pro-choice but under the circumstances, when any woman's life

:28:10.:28:18.

is at risk, as was the case with the lady, if she had been my sister, I

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can figure no situation, where the part or the girl should have the

:28:26.:28:31.

right to choose. That is against the policy of the church? You talked

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about that issue and spoke about gay marriage. You see, as legislators,

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our responsibility is to develop and advance civil affairs. And we need

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to do so by treating people equally before the law. It is up to the

:28:50.:28:56.

church to define and decide who is married within their own grounds.

:28:57.:29:00.

And if they will acknowledge whether a couple is married. But when, in

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terms of equal marriage, giving a couple access to equal rights before

:29:07.:29:11.

the law, that is what we have to do. And we have to separate church and

:29:12.:29:17.

state. Are you saying to the church butt out? I'm saying to the church

:29:18.:29:22.

that we have got a responsibility as legislators to advance civil affairs

:29:23.:29:26.

and the church has a responsibility to do what it does. But the church

:29:27.:29:31.

should also look at the fact that it has the position for instance on

:29:32.:29:43.

contraceptives. I know a lot of people. I have a lot of friends

:29:44.:29:51.

within the LGA community and I will stand up for their rights that they

:29:52.:29:55.

should be getting access to equal marriage before the law. Diane

:29:56.:29:59.

Dodds... APPLAUSE

:30:00.:30:04.

Of course, the church has every right to make its position known and

:30:05.:30:10.

to contribute to the public debate in our community. I, as an MEP...

:30:11.:30:17.

Does that mean they can say you should not vote for candidate A

:30:18.:30:23.

because candidate A doesn't agree with church teaching? They are

:30:24.:30:32.

saying you should examine what each andidate stands for. As, assen MEP,

:30:33.:30:40.

I -- I as an MEP, I meet lobby groups from all over the spectrum, I

:30:41.:30:45.

meet all kinds of people who come to me and they contribute to the public

:30:46.:30:49.

debate on the issues of concern to them. So of course, the church has

:30:50.:30:53.

the right to actually contribute to the public debate. Not just the

:30:54.:30:57.

Catholic Church, any of our churches and our communities right across

:30:58.:31:00.

Northern Ireland. That is very important. And then, people have the

:31:01.:31:05.

right to question candidates on their record and to make up their

:31:06.:31:10.

mind based on their record as to how they will actually vote. When I am

:31:11.:31:15.

looking at these issues, I stand on a record of being pro-life and

:31:16.:31:22.

pro-marriage. That is a fundamental for me. I have been consistent in my

:31:23.:31:27.

voting record, in the European Parliament, on all of those issues.

:31:28.:31:31.

I am not like Sinn Fein that takes a different stance in Europe, compared

:31:32.:31:34.

to the stance that they actually take here in Northern Ireland...

:31:35.:31:39.

That's not true. Martina Anderson voted to keep a report within the

:31:40.:31:45.

Parliament that actually wanted abortion to be treated as a

:31:46.:31:49.

fundamental Human Right. That is fact. Do you want to answer that?

:31:50.:31:58.

You must let her answer that. The report was not voted on. The report

:31:59.:32:02.

is the report that Diane is referring to and the good things in

:32:03.:32:14.

the Stella Report, female genital mutilation. On these issues, I

:32:15.:32:17.

wanted to put Sinn Fein's position on the record as if I had of got the

:32:18.:32:21.

opportunity to vote which none of us did, I would have put it on the

:32:22.:32:25.

record that Sinn Fein did not support what was in that report

:32:26.:32:31.

about abortion. We would not have supported that. That is clear. Let

:32:32.:32:38.

us be absolutely clear what happened in the European Parliament. The

:32:39.:32:41.

report was brought before the Parliament. I voted to have the

:32:42.:32:45.

report taken back. Sinn Fein voted to keep the report. That's not in

:32:46.:32:57.

voting in support. That's a different emphasis. The church and

:32:58.:33:01.

its influence on politics? Well, I remember a conversation Noel, on one

:33:02.:33:06.

of the quieter days in the Haass process with Richard Haass where I

:33:07.:33:09.

said to him in my view the most interesting person in the world in

:33:10.:33:14.

the last 20 years wag Pope Francis and Haass replied that he agreed. So

:33:15.:33:20.

I think we are in this very fertile moment potentially around churches

:33:21.:33:24.

including the Catholic Church where they can show leadership in the

:33:25.:33:29.

world in a way that images the Catholic Church and the Christian

:33:30.:33:32.

faith at the service of the poor. That's a very powerful thing. I

:33:33.:33:38.

think... Same-sex marriage and abortion are not issues of economic

:33:39.:33:43.

levels. It is very important that the church takes leadership

:33:44.:33:48.

positions even if I, as a person, of faith and coming from the Catholic

:33:49.:33:54.

tradition, and the tradition that Bishop Noel Trainor is from, even on

:33:55.:33:58.

the issue of equal marriage, I differ with him. So that's why the

:33:59.:34:04.

SDLP on three occasions in the Assembly voted in favour of equal

:34:05.:34:08.

marriage. But recognising that this is an issue of conscious, our

:34:09.:34:14.

morals, our values, for even our members, we have tid Said to our

:34:15.:34:17.

people f it is a matter of conscience then you don't have to

:34:18.:34:21.

vote in favour of the policy of the party in terms of equal marriage. I

:34:22.:34:26.

believe that policy in terms of building an inclusive and respectful

:34:27.:34:31.

society, one that they are crying out for, I think that is the right

:34:32.:34:35.

approach and when to comes to abortion, the SDLP policy has been

:34:36.:34:39.

since the day and the hour the party was formed is to be opposed to

:34:40.:34:44.

abortion and like other parties, not to see the introduction of the 67

:34:45.:34:53.

Abortion Act introduced into our circumstances in Northern Ireland.

:34:54.:34:56.

Jim Allister? Jim Nicholson? Most of them are

:34:57.:35:06.

conscience issues as far as the party is concerned and we have

:35:07.:35:10.

members within the party with differing points of view, and I

:35:11.:35:14.

don't believe it is an issue for Europe. I don't think it is the

:35:15.:35:17.

responsibility of Europe and it should come down to regions within

:35:18.:35:22.

the memb states so they can make their own decisions and it is the

:35:23.:35:26.

right of any church... But to make an issue which is recognised in one

:35:27.:35:31.

country, recognised by all countries. If you got married in

:35:32.:35:36.

Spain, a same-sex marriage in Spain, that you would have to be recognised

:35:37.:35:39.

by the Government of the United Kingdom? Well, this is one of the

:35:40.:35:41.

difficulties in Europe quite frankly where they want to make one suit fit

:35:42.:35:46.

everybody and it doesn't work because different people have

:35:47.:35:49.

different traditions, different backgrounds and different beliefs,

:35:50.:35:54.

but on this issue I have to say on abortion, I have to say, I think

:35:55.:35:59.

probably there is maybe too many men give their view on this and I would

:36:00.:36:03.

hate to have to be the one to decide between the life of a female and the

:36:04.:36:11.

unborn child if there was danger. But you are a legislator, you are

:36:12.:36:16.

paid. Yes, we are paid. But that is a very, very difficult decision to

:36:17.:36:20.

have to take and if I had to take it... The bishop? He can speak for

:36:21.:36:28.

himself. I'm not going to criticise Catholic... The Bishop of Cork spoke

:36:29.:36:38.

out about this, he is looking forward to seeing same-sex marriage

:36:39.:36:41.

recognised in the church? On gay marriage, I am not in favour and I

:36:42.:36:49.

would not be in favour on abortion to extend the present Abortion Act.

:36:50.:36:55.

Should churches get involved? It is right the church should have a view

:36:56.:37:00.

on moral issues. I don't think churches should seek to tell any

:37:01.:37:03.

individual how to vote, but it is legitimate for him to set out the

:37:04.:37:08.

church position on moral issues. The same thing though, isn't it? No, it

:37:09.:37:15.

is not. You are saying don't vote for anyone who doesn't agree with

:37:16.:37:24.

us? Fundamentally, I am unashamedly pro-life, against abortion on

:37:25.:37:32.

demand. I unashamedly protraditional marriage and against sex marriage.

:37:33.:37:36.

There is no Human Right anywhere in the European Convention on Human

:37:37.:37:39.

Rights in relation to same-sex marriage. It is, of course, a per

:37:40.:37:44.

version of marriage and I remember being in the European Parliament

:37:45.:37:51.

when Bairbre de B did vote for a report demanding abortion on demand

:37:52.:37:57.

and Sinn Fein do play fast and loose with this issue. In Brussels they

:37:58.:38:03.

are openly overtly pro-abortion. In Stormont, because they know it

:38:04.:38:07.

wouldn't play too well, they try and tone down...

:38:08.:38:12.

APPLAUSE You are saying that's not true? It

:38:13.:38:21.

is not true. We will leave at that. Anna Lo. I have always said that

:38:22.:38:24.

politicians should leave their bible at the door when they come into

:38:25.:38:26.

Stormont. APPLAUSE

:38:27.:38:36.

Think -- I think it is a politician mixing religion with politics. For

:38:37.:38:44.

example our ban on blood donation by the DUP Health Minister. That is out

:38:45.:38:49.

of line what rest of the UK -- with the rest of the UK. In terms of

:38:50.:38:54.

abortion, our party, the Alliance Party has no set policy on this. It

:38:55.:38:57.

is a matter of conscience, but I'm one of the only two politicians here

:38:58.:39:04.

in Northern Ireland who support pro-choice. I believe and this is

:39:05.:39:09.

coming from my experience of working as a community worker, and a social

:39:10.:39:14.

worker for many years, working with women, with families, and women when

:39:15.:39:20.

they are faced with a crisis pregnancy and I think she has the

:39:21.:39:25.

right, she must have the right to decide what to do with her own body.

:39:26.:39:30.

The question being, Anna Lo, it is not about politicians bringing their

:39:31.:39:34.

religion into Parliament, it is about churchmen bringing their moral

:39:35.:39:44.

precepts into politics? But this is church dictating to us. Do they have

:39:45.:39:55.

the right to do that? In terms of same-sex marriage, the Alliance

:39:56.:40:01.

Party has a strong policy in support of same-sex marriage. I believe...

:40:02.:40:07.

APPLAUSE I believe if a couple, whether it is

:40:08.:40:08.

two men, two women, I believe if a couple, whether it is

:40:09.:40:16.

want to spend the rest of their lives together... What about a man

:40:17.:40:17.

and two women, do you support that as well? I'll not ask that question.

:40:18.:40:27.

Jonathan, what do you think? I still think that some parties or maybe the

:40:28.:40:31.

individual members of the parties let their religion dictate the

:40:32.:40:35.

policies and agendas rather than what would be for the benefit of

:40:36.:40:41.

society as a whole. Let's move on to our third question. It is from Clive

:40:42.:41:00.

Henderson who is from Irvinestown? If UK left the EU what would happen

:41:01.:41:09.

the single farm payments? Jim Allister, I better put that to you,

:41:10.:41:14.

would the Government replace that money? That vast amount of money is

:41:15.:41:19.

a return of some of our own money because we pay in ?17 billion every

:41:20.:41:29.

year into Brussels. We get back less than half so the net cost is ?23.6

:41:30.:41:38.

million per day. ?1 million for every hour. So what we're getting

:41:39.:41:47.

back from Europe a portion of our own money. If we weren't in the EU,

:41:48.:41:54.

we would have ?17 billion to spend on our own farmers and our own

:41:55.:41:59.

fishermen. We know the Health Service is in bad condition and the

:42:00.:42:03.

welfare budget is costing millions and people are getting older and

:42:04.:42:08.

they need more pensions? The Common Agricultural Policy doesn't just

:42:09.:42:11.

apply to Northern Ireland, it applies across the United Kingdom,

:42:12.:42:18.

the requirement of the agriculture and agri food industry particularly

:42:19.:42:22.

at a time when world food production needs to rise, when there is a

:42:23.:42:27.

rising population, it is perhaps the one industry that has great growth

:42:28.:42:30.

opportunities. Any Government in its right mind would want to encourage

:42:31.:42:35.

it, to grow it, because it can be our greatest exporter. I have

:42:36.:42:39.

confident that any Government that wanted to have a competitive

:42:40.:42:44.

industry in agriculture and I think all would, would recognise the

:42:45.:42:48.

necessity of sustaining and supporting that industry. Would

:42:49.:42:53.

there not be some Governments who would say if this industry can't

:42:54.:42:57.

stand on its own two feet, let's give it up? I think the reality is

:42:58.:43:03.

when you have an industry so central to food, as food production, which

:43:04.:43:08.

is what keeps us all alive then no Government in it's right mind is

:43:09.:43:12.

ever going to turn its back on that industry. And this nonsense that we

:43:13.:43:21.

must cravely cling to Brussels and say, "Oh, we're so grateful that for

:43:22.:43:27.

every ?20 we give you, you give us back ?10. How grateful we are." We

:43:28.:43:39.

must really get over that attitude. APPLAUSE

:43:40.:43:41.

This is an issue that goes to the heart of what the future is going to

:43:42.:43:46.

be. If you look at the situation in the agricultural industry and you

:43:47.:43:49.

have to realise that the farmers in Northern Ireland are simply, but the

:43:50.:43:54.

first link in the food chain that is one of the most progressive,

:43:55.:44:01.

creating jobs, and wealth and stability in Northern Ireland. It is

:44:02.:44:04.

the one area that stood firm against that economic downturn. So I can

:44:05.:44:09.

tell you one thing - before I would ever agree to leaving Europe, I

:44:10.:44:14.

would not only want that renegotiation to take place between

:44:15.:44:18.

London and Brussels, but I would want a negotiation between Belfast

:44:19.:44:24.

and London to guarantee to me that the money that this ?17 million that

:44:25.:44:28.

Jim talks about, would actually, we would get a portion of that for the

:44:29.:44:34.

agricultural industry. So you don't have the confidence that he would

:44:35.:44:38.

has that that would be automatic? Well, I have seen a lot of

:44:39.:44:41.

governments come and go and I have never seen one want to send us extra

:44:42.:44:48.

money. As far as I am concerned... They send us 10 approximately 0

:44:49.:44:55.

billion a year, but they would have to send us more. The single farm

:44:56.:45:00.

payment is more than 52% of every farm income in Northern Ireland.

:45:01.:45:08.

That is what is needed to sustain that and can you imagine where this

:45:09.:45:13.

country would be every lost jobs through farming and the food

:45:14.:45:18.

industry that. There. And we have this challenge with the reform and

:45:19.:45:23.

the biggest danger that we face is not from Brussels, and the CMP, it

:45:24.:45:30.

is because Stormont cannot make up their mind about what to do before

:45:31.:45:34.

August on high that Bonnie will be distributed. -- how that money. As

:45:35.:45:42.

someone who has spent 25 years as a mEP, I have never once politicised

:45:43.:45:49.

agriculture and it is a shame to those parties who have and if they

:45:50.:45:54.

destroy this business, they will be held responsible by the people of

:45:55.:45:58.

Northern Ireland. He is pointing the finger at you, Martina Anderson? I

:45:59.:46:04.

would like to respond to the question because the couple and

:46:05.:46:12.

farming is the exclusive competency of Europe sold you would not get

:46:13.:46:16.

that replaced by any other government. -- so you would not.

:46:17.:46:23.

That is where farmers have real concern in regards to the common

:46:24.:46:26.

agricultural policy. This is about such a referendum and it is decided

:46:27.:46:33.

that Britain should leave, we are of the opinion, as I said in my

:46:34.:46:37.

opening, that the place of Ireland is in Europe and that is one of the

:46:38.:46:41.

reasons that we look at this, we look at funding for cap and funding

:46:42.:46:47.

for structural business and I would say to all of those groups, farmers

:46:48.:46:53.

big and small, do not listen to the nonsense you will hear about us

:46:54.:46:56.

being better out of Europe because there is no mission that the British

:46:57.:47:02.

government will replace that funding for you here. It is actually Sinn

:47:03.:47:15.

Fein? Politicising the single farm payment. Trying to even it out? That

:47:16.:47:23.

is seen by some as taking money away from the most reductive farmers.

:47:24.:47:29.

There are thousands of farmers in severely disadvantaged areas and

:47:30.:47:32.

they are getting below the average payment. Because they are producing

:47:33.:47:39.

below. This is about the rights for those farmers. People who produce

:47:40.:47:46.

more should not get more subsidy? This is an income support model, not

:47:47.:47:51.

for production. What would get better production is growth and that

:47:52.:48:00.

is with the Minister, sitting in the Executive and the DUP blocked that.

:48:01.:48:04.

That is what we need to look at if we're going for the growth strategy

:48:05.:48:08.

and that is what we're going to do to enhance production. You are

:48:09.:48:16.

blocking progress? I am glad to see I be culture at the top of the

:48:17.:48:20.

agenda. The single farm payment is important to farmers, it is a

:48:21.:48:27.

lifeline. -- agriculture. As the farmer's friend, the DUP has stood

:48:28.:48:33.

up for farmers over and over again in Europe and in Stormont. We will

:48:34.:48:41.

ensure that, no matter what happens in any renegotiation, we will ensure

:48:42.:48:47.

that there is direct support. I want to say that even the most advanced

:48:48.:48:51.

economy, free-market economy, in the world, the USA, supports farmers and

:48:52.:48:58.

it is absolutely vital that we categorically state that no matter

:48:59.:49:04.

what we do, support for farmers is absolutely important. And did you

:49:05.:49:11.

block that growth strategy? It is important because Northern Ireland

:49:12.:49:16.

agriculture is important to the economy, 52% of all manufacturing

:49:17.:49:20.

sales are from this sector. It is absolutely vital to grow this sector

:49:21.:49:27.

and we continue to support sustainable farming. The DUP stands

:49:28.:49:34.

up for these farmers and that is why in December, when my colleague,

:49:35.:49:39.

Simon Hamilton, to the Sinn Fein minister to court, we ensured there

:49:40.:49:46.

was an extra 137 macro and euros in the pot for the single farm payment.

:49:47.:49:53.

-- 137 macro. We are standing up for farmers. -- ?137 million. Growing

:49:54.:50:09.

for growth is the agreed road map between the industry and the

:50:10.:50:12.

government to take Northern Ireland farming into the future. Mike

:50:13.:50:17.

Holding, Arlene Foster, is already delivering on this. What we need to

:50:18.:50:26.

do... The DUP has blocked it. Through the chair. Anna Lo? Just to

:50:27.:50:36.

follow up about that the buckle in December of two different ministers

:50:37.:50:39.

going to court because they could not agree on how to spend both lots

:50:40.:50:45.

of money. One part is for single farm payments by their partner that

:50:46.:50:49.

can be transferred. To help with protecting the environment. -- but

:50:50.:51:02.

part of that. Simon Hamilton scuppered that amount of money. We

:51:03.:51:07.

had flexibility to move from the single farm payment to that

:51:08.:51:12.

agri-food scheme, to help with infrastructure and new developments

:51:13.:51:17.

and research. This is a movement happening in other countries? In

:51:18.:51:22.

other parts of the UK, England, 90% transfer. 14% from Scotland, 12%

:51:23.:51:31.

from Wales. We are getting into too much detail! I want you to respond

:51:32.:51:37.

to the question, do you think that this money would come to farmers if

:51:38.:51:45.

we left the EU? Absolutely not. It is crazy to think that. The same

:51:46.:51:51.

Alliance Party wanted us to join the euro. That shows us the value of

:51:52.:52:00.

their judgement. The last, from Jim Allister is strange, on one hand...

:52:01.:52:07.

You also wanted us to join the EU! Do not trust London when it comes to

:52:08.:52:14.

on the run prisoners but trust them with agriculture payments. You

:52:15.:52:19.

cannot have this both ways. What would happen if there was withdrawal

:52:20.:52:25.

from the European Union for the farmers? You can draw a conclusion

:52:26.:52:29.

about what Londoners saying, too many welfare claimants, sink

:52:30.:52:34.

awesome. That is what they would say here. -- sink or swim. There can be

:52:35.:52:43.

no doubt, why? Many reasons but not least because the profile of the

:52:44.:52:45.

farming industry here is very different from what it is in many

:52:46.:52:50.

parts of Britain because we have 25,000 farmers here and they farm a

:52:51.:52:56.

greater percentage of the land and so on. Jim Allister is also wrong.

:52:57.:53:02.

He is a encounter. He measures what is paid over to Europe and what

:53:03.:53:07.

comes back in European payments. It happens to be our own money. What he

:53:08.:53:13.

completely ignores is what the CBI says and what it says is that the

:53:14.:53:20.

GDP boost to Britain and Northern Ireland from membership of the

:53:21.:53:25.

European Union, to use their word, towards the membership fee. Why? --

:53:26.:53:33.

dwarfs. When you look at these export opportunities here and in

:53:34.:53:39.

Britain into the EU, the average benefit to any citizen in these

:53:40.:53:44.

parts of the world is over ?1200 every year. And the average net

:53:45.:53:50.

payment by those citizens into the European Treasury is... Lady in the

:53:51.:53:58.

front row? It is great to see that even the -- even if you disagree,

:53:59.:54:03.

you support farmers. I am involved in the anti-fracking campaign and

:54:04.:54:07.

farmers in Australia and America and Canada are crying out for help to

:54:08.:54:13.

keep fracking away from farmland. I am hoping you will stand with us. We

:54:14.:54:19.

will have no special lobbying! What are your views? I would not be sure

:54:20.:54:26.

that the government would back the farming sector as well as it is at

:54:27.:54:30.

present because of the income from the single farm payment and that

:54:31.:54:34.

needs to be in place if you want cheap, safe food. Question number

:54:35.:54:40.

four, from Gareth Brown, a public affairs manager from Randalstown.

:54:41.:54:45.

Does the panel believe that the membership of the EU is important

:54:46.:54:49.

for Northern Ireland and germs of dealing with difficult issues of the

:54:50.:54:52.

past? And if so, could be explained by? -- could they explain why. Money

:54:53.:55:06.

that was supposed to reconcile communities and contribute to shared

:55:07.:55:10.

society, Alex Attwood? The answer is yes. Europe helps in so many ways,

:55:11.:55:16.

some of which we do not recognise. Through the piece money, over the

:55:17.:55:22.

last number of years. And there will be another in place by the end of

:55:23.:55:27.

this year and into next year. We need to speed up the process because

:55:28.:55:31.

lots of organisations are in jeopardy. -- peace. It also helps

:55:32.:55:41.

because they have created a rights -based approach to society and

:55:42.:55:45.

public policy. If there is anything we can learn from those years of

:55:46.:55:50.

terror and conflict in the society, it is that when we deny rights, you

:55:51.:55:57.

create instability. Therefore, this approach in the European Union and

:55:58.:56:01.

across Europe generally, not least with the European Convention, is a

:56:02.:56:05.

mechanism to inform us about how we should conduct politics and society

:56:06.:56:12.

in the future and also, Europe has demonstrated and the world has

:56:13.:56:16.

demonstrated that through international justice mechanisms,

:56:17.:56:19.

you should not deny citizens and countries the rights of justice for

:56:20.:56:24.

those who have suffered at the hands of those who have been involved in

:56:25.:56:28.

conflict. If you look at this across the funding mechanism, justice and

:56:29.:56:34.

that rights -based approach, Europe has much to teach us but,

:56:35.:56:37.

critically, we must learn from that by having an approach to the past

:56:38.:56:42.

and stealing without immediately. Anna Lo? We have not been able to

:56:43.:56:50.

agree amongst ourselves and the EU would, I am sure, you have us a hand

:56:51.:56:58.

and help us. The peace money came since 1995 and we have got 2 billion

:56:59.:57:05.

euros out of this. I would hope in the next round, we would have 140

:57:06.:57:10.

million going towards building a shared future. Specifically,

:57:11.:57:17.

building community relations, having more shared spaces and shared

:57:18.:57:20.

housing and integrated education for all of us to learn to live and go up

:57:21.:57:32.

with our children to learn together. I think that Europe has done a lot

:57:33.:57:37.

in keeping the peace since the last world war, World War II. And it has

:57:38.:57:43.

helped in breaking down barriers between member states as well. I

:57:44.:57:48.

think we can learn a lot from them but we can contribute a lot also, in

:57:49.:57:53.

the Assembly there is great recognition that we have done well

:57:54.:58:00.

in the peace process. We can have opportunities with other member

:58:01.:58:06.

states to share learning. And we have received so much political

:58:07.:58:09.

support and money from people and I think there is a moral obligation

:58:10.:58:13.

for us to share that experience with others as well. And it is ?2 billion

:58:14.:58:24.

since 1995. European money would have gone to support the Maze prison

:58:25.:58:32.

project? What has happened to that? It has been redistributed and

:58:33.:58:36.

firstly, can I say that peace funding... Let me... It has been

:58:37.:58:42.

redistributed to a range of projects, one of which is the shared

:58:43.:58:48.

site at the leisure centre in Newtownabbey, over ?4 million.

:58:49.:58:52.

Communities will access and benefit from that. I am very happy to have

:58:53.:58:57.

helped the council and communities are to actually access that. That is

:58:58.:59:05.

a very important issue. Piece money has been important for Northern

:59:06.:59:11.

Ireland. -- peace. The part will be around ?240 million. And I have

:59:12.:59:16.

clearly said that I would like to see funding directed at young people

:59:17.:59:22.

and those who are in danger of being drawn back into violence and I would

:59:23.:59:25.

like us to really direct that, in giving young people a stake in

:59:26.:59:30.

society and the future in Northern Ireland going forward. Yes, funding

:59:31.:59:35.

has been important for Northern Ireland. Can the EU make peace in

:59:36.:59:41.

Northern Ireland? No, fundamentally, peace in Northern Ireland will be

:59:42.:59:47.

made here. And that will be based on truth and justice. And I do a lot of

:59:48.:59:51.

work with the innocent victims of terrorism, both in the European

:59:52.:59:55.

Parliament and in Northern Ireland, and they tell me that going forward,

:59:56.:00:03.

we need to see truth and justice. And the prospect of justice for each

:00:04.:00:08.

and every one of them as they go forward. And that is where it is

:00:09.:00:12.

important. We can start this process. We can start it. I actually

:00:13.:00:20.

looking at some of the issues that are important to give victims. One

:00:21.:00:23.

of the issues that Israeli important is the issue of a definition of

:00:24.:00:29.

victim. You know, we have... As you say jurp can't help us with --

:00:30.:00:34.

Europe can't help us with that? We need a definition of a victim that

:00:35.:00:37.

excludes the perpetrators of violence and I invite those parties

:00:38.:00:44.

here, particularly the SDLP to join with us.

:00:45.:00:48.

APPLAUSE What is your party's view on peace

:00:49.:00:54.

money being used to redevelop the Mazi site and what -- Maze and what

:00:55.:01:04.

are your feelings on a shrine to terrorism being built there? The

:01:05.:01:09.

lady there? The only comment I have to make is to the parties regarding

:01:10.:01:12.

funding coming out of Europe. It seems to be directed at innovative

:01:13.:01:17.

projects which seem to have a time limit. There is a lot of good work

:01:18.:01:19.

going on within the communities at present time for all sorts of

:01:20.:01:25.

issues, be it victims, or whatever, with this money coming to us,

:01:26.:01:32.

hopefully in 2014/2015, can the MEPs give us any guarantees that there

:01:33.:01:37.

could be funding to sustain current projects because the projects we

:01:38.:01:44.

have seem to die at a specific time? Jim Allister, it wasn't Europe's

:01:45.:01:52.

fault Jim Allister that the Maze project collapsed. President Barroso

:01:53.:01:58.

said he was impressed by Northern Ireland for developing a centre for

:01:59.:02:06.

conflict resolution The Maze project typified the folly to go down that

:02:07.:02:13.

road and what stopped the waste of ?20 million on the Maze project was

:02:14.:02:20.

not the mighty DUP, what stopped the waste of that money was an uprising

:02:21.:02:27.

of innocent victims who saw... APPLAUSE

:02:28.:02:30.

Who saw that project for what it was, a glorification of the

:02:31.:02:36.

victim-makers and sadly for five years, Mrs Dodds in Brussels never

:02:37.:02:41.

spoke out about the Maze project, she stuck with the party line to

:02:42.:02:47.

deliver the Sinn Fein agenda at the Maze and it took the innocent

:02:48.:02:53.

victims to force the DUP U-turn on the Maze and I'm glad this party

:02:54.:02:59.

played some small part in doing it. Martina Anderson? Our peace process

:03:00.:03:03.

shines like a beacon light and gives a lot of hope to a lot of areas that

:03:04.:03:12.

are trying to emerge from conflict. And Europe supports the Good Friday

:03:13.:03:16.

agreement. And I think it is crucially important that we look at

:03:17.:03:19.

the opportunities that the peace funding has brought here. 22,000

:03:20.:03:28.

projects. 900,000 participants and as you have mentioned, there has

:03:29.:03:33.

been sterling work which has been done in communities across the two

:03:34.:03:38.

traditions here in the north and in the border corridors. I think we

:03:39.:03:44.

need to look at the opportunities that we have to give something to

:03:45.:03:50.

Europe in terms of hope and also for us to be able to get from Europe,

:03:51.:03:55.

not just in terms of funding, but the peace centre in the Kerb would

:03:56.:04:03.

have been -- Kesh would have been such a statement beyond Ireland to

:04:04.:04:08.

peek who were trying to -- people who were trying to emerge from

:04:09.:04:13.

conflict. Conflict is a terrible thing. It is how we are able to get

:04:14.:04:17.

out of it and we were able to use that funding for that benefit.

:04:18.:04:27.

APPLAUSE Can I go now? Yes, please. I was

:04:28.:04:38.

involved in this from Peace One. On many occasion, there has been plenty

:04:39.:04:42.

troubles on the way and it is far from perfect, but it did make a

:04:43.:04:46.

valuable contribution in the early years to the two communities in

:04:47.:04:51.

Northern Ireland. And I have to say, you know, many people say to me in

:04:52.:04:59.

Brussels, that was 1994 when Ian Paisley and John Hume and I went

:05:00.:05:09.

through the door. 20 years ago since that first peace one was formed.

:05:10.:05:17.

Many people I know in Brussels say to me, "Jim, how long does it take

:05:18.:05:19.

you to make peace in Northern Ireland?" We know the many problems

:05:20.:05:25.

we have here, but Europe has been very good in that it has tried to

:05:26.:05:33.

always stay above on many, many occasions the differences and the

:05:34.:05:36.

disagreements that we have. But I have to say, where I agree with Jim,

:05:37.:05:41.

because Jim was the MEP at the when he and I were locked out of any

:05:42.:05:45.

discussions taking place at that time. We were not part of and for

:05:46.:05:48.

the first time in all the time thave been an MEP that we were not part or

:05:49.:05:55.

contributing to the Barroso taskforce. Even though we told them

:05:56.:06:00.

that wouldn't happen... We're going to have to take a couple of

:06:01.:06:02.

questions from the floor and then we've got to move on. We have no

:06:03.:06:10.

time left. The January Ja gentleman in the black shirt. I'm assuming Jim

:06:11.:06:16.

and Diane are talking about victim makers and terrorism and talking

:06:17.:06:27.

about a collusion and terrorism. I would like to ask the panel what

:06:28.:06:31.

have you and your party done to oppose the IRA shrine at the Maze?

:06:32.:06:42.

Can I answer on two points? No, too many. The DUP said there will be no

:06:43.:06:46.

shrine at the Maze and there will be no shrine at the Maze. It is off the

:06:47.:06:52.

table. Can I say? We're not a one-man band. I don't have to speak

:06:53.:06:56.

on everything... One last question. Time is running out for us. Jim, you

:06:57.:07:04.

are the one-man band. APPLAUSE

:07:05.:07:09.

Chris Jordan. If elected, what will you miss most while in Brussels?

:07:10.:07:16.

Anna, what would you miss? What would I miss here? I wouldn't

:07:17.:07:21.

miss the bickering that's been going on all night. What would I miss? I

:07:22.:07:26.

would miss the nice people here. I would miss the hospitalality and the

:07:27.:07:32.

warmth. My sister is over from Hong Kong and she couldn't get over...

:07:33.:07:40.

How nice we are? Yes. I would miss my wife, my family and my two girls,

:07:41.:07:43.

they are seven and five. I've missed a bit of their lives so far. It

:07:44.:07:50.

won't be easy to miss a bit more. I will miss the people of Northern

:07:51.:07:54.

Ireland on the days I'm over there because the strength and the

:07:55.:07:56.

character and the capacity and the innovation... Flattery! Jim

:07:57.:08:06.

Nicholson, you have practically forgotten Northern Ireland you have

:08:07.:08:11.

been gone so long. Even for you Noel, that's pretty low! I can say a

:08:12.:08:18.

lot of things. I do apologise? Not at all. It goes with the territory.

:08:19.:08:22.

Probably the thing I mist the most is a good plate of Irish stew.

:08:23.:08:28.

Martina Anderson, you have had two years out there, what have -- what

:08:29.:08:36.

do you miss? I miss my mother. My hother has at zim -- mother has

:08:37.:08:41.

Alzheimer's of the there is nothing that brightens up my day when I come

:08:42.:08:45.

back from Europe particularly a journey from Strasbourg and walking

:08:46.:08:54.

in to see my mummy. Jim Allister, what did you miss most? Being apart

:08:55.:08:59.

from family is a sacrifice that everyone makes. Politically, would I

:09:00.:09:04.

miss being a thorn in the flesh of Sinn Fein, DUP in Stormont? Well,

:09:05.:09:08.

happily, well happily I would have someone to be that northern and I --

:09:09.:09:13.

thorn and I would have a bigger mandate from across the province to

:09:14.:09:20.

add to that thorn. Diane? Well, I would miss the people of Northern

:09:21.:09:23.

Ireland. It is a privilege to represent Northern Ireland in the

:09:24.:09:26.

European Parliament, but most of all, you know, you miss your family

:09:27.:09:31.

and that's very significant and of course, nothing beats coming home to

:09:32.:09:42.

a slice of Wheatan bread. I will give you 40 seconds to sum-up what

:09:43.:09:48.

we have heard today. Who knows, we might find our debate changed views.

:09:49.:09:54.

Martina Anderson. Well, if you are against austerity and want

:09:55.:09:56.

leadership and you want someone that's going to stand up for you,

:09:57.:09:59.

you want someone who is going to stand up against cuts and make sure

:10:00.:10:05.

that we get and maximise the opportunities in Europe. If you want

:10:06.:10:10.

team Sinn Fein, then you should vote for Sinn Fein councillors and myself

:10:11.:10:14.

throughout Ireland and particularly here in the north.

:10:15.:10:22.

Diane Dodds? APPLAUSE

:10:23.:10:24.

This Thursday I'm asking you for a mandate to continue to represent

:10:25.:10:29.

Northern Ireland in Europe. While the Unionist candidates agree on

:10:30.:10:33.

many issues, the reality is that only one, the DUP, has the ability

:10:34.:10:39.

to deliver. While some others just carp and criticise and have nothing

:10:40.:10:43.

positive to offer, we are the party that stands up for Northern Ireland.

:10:44.:10:52.

Division weakens Unionism. Splits votes mean lost power and influence.

:10:53.:10:56.

I want to get the best deal for Northern Ireland and that's why on

:10:57.:10:59.

Thursday, I'm asking you to vote to strengthen unionism and our voice in

:11:00.:11:03.

the European Parliament. So I'm asking you to vote number one, DUP

:11:04.:11:10.

and then transfer. Thank you very much indeed. Jim Nicholson? Thank

:11:11.:11:17.

you, Noel. Can I thank the audience? I began this debate by saying Europe

:11:18.:11:22.

needs to get real. And from what we've been saying, there is no doubt

:11:23.:11:27.

about that and we have seen here tonight that it is obvious to all of

:11:28.:11:30.

us that some of the candidates also need a reality check as well. We

:11:31.:11:37.

must not take local differences we have witnessed here to Europe

:11:38.:11:41.

because they will not understand our argument. I will not politicise

:11:42.:11:49.

agriculture. I will stop the EU's to destroy o jobs and I will not lead

:11:50.:11:52.

Northern Ireland over a cliff edge. I will continue to do what I have

:11:53.:11:57.

done for 25 years and that's to proudly work on behalf of everyone

:11:58.:12:00.

in Northern Ireland. Thank you very much indeed. Alex Attwood? Well,

:12:01.:12:08.

thank you Noel and I thank the audience. I think this debate, I

:12:09.:12:11.

think the politics of the last number of months and years

:12:12.:12:17.

demonstrates that we have to move Northern Ireland in a hopeful and

:12:18.:12:21.

bold direction. That we cannot continue to let people down. As I

:12:22.:12:27.

said earlier, all of that happens or doesn't happen if people vote or

:12:28.:12:32.

they do not vote. I have said all along in this election campaign that

:12:33.:12:37.

this is no ordinary election and a poll and the papers are now saying

:12:38.:12:43.

that there can be no ordinary outcome. That's powerful your votes

:12:44.:12:49.

tonight are. That's why I ask you to vote for me.

:12:50.:12:53.

Jim Allister. Over the years many unionist and democrats in Northern

:12:54.:12:56.

Ireland feel they have been robbed of things that matter to them. We've

:12:57.:13:00.

reached the stage where you can't even vote a party out of Government.

:13:01.:13:04.

You are not allowed to change your Government and you are in the

:13:05.:13:07.

allowed to have an opposition. Well, the one thing that can't be taken

:13:08.:13:11.

from you is your vote. That is your secret weapon. So come out on

:13:12.:13:17.

Thursday. Let's shake things up. Let's vote TUV to make a difference

:13:18.:13:22.

on all these issues. Do not be distracted by the self serving

:13:23.:13:27.

nonsense about splitting the vote. You cannot split a vote in a PR

:13:28.:13:35.

election providing you use your transfers within the unionist family

:13:36.:13:39.

and that's what everyone should do. Anna Lo? Yes, on Thursday you have

:13:40.:13:45.

the opportunity to step forward, to make changes. If you don't want the

:13:46.:13:52.

us and them old politics, you vote for the Alliance Party. We work for

:13:53.:13:59.

everyone. We can present a new modern progressive and inclusive

:14:00.:14:05.

image of Northern Ireland to Europe, to the world. I am ambitious for

:14:06.:14:11.

Northern Ireland. I am ambitious, I will be very active in Europe to

:14:12.:14:16.

work for everyone. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very

:14:17.:14:19.

much indeed. There are four other candidates running in the European

:14:20.:14:25.

election. Ross Brown of the Green Party, ma Tina McKenzie. There will

:14:26.:14:32.

be a report on their response on Talk Back tomorrow and on BBC

:14:33.:14:36.

Newsline on BBC One. A full list of candidates is on the BBC's election

:14:37.:14:42.

website. The result of the euro polls should be known on Monday

:14:43.:14:47.

afternoon. May the best teams win. Thank you to our candidates and to

:14:48.:14:50.

our studio audience and to you at home for watching. Goodbye.

:14:51.:14:54.

APPLAUSE with candidates standing in our 11

:14:55.:15:17.

new council districts, and it's time for you to choose who will be

:15:18.:15:22.

our representatives in Europe. BBC News NI will bring you

:15:23.:15:26.

the results as they come in, with live coverage

:15:27.:15:29.

from all the count centres. We'll have reaction,

:15:30.:15:31.

expert analysis, and, of course, a chance for you

:15:32.:15:34.

to have your say across TV,

:15:35.:15:38.

In the run up to the election, candidates for the European Parliament face an audience of potential voters. Noel Thompson presents.


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