Special Spotlight


Special

A studio audience puts questions to a panel of public figures on the week's big talking points. Noel Thompson presents.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Spotlight special with our studio audience.

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Our panellists tonight at the TV leader Jim Allister, the DUP leader

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Jeffrey Donaldson, the Lions minister Jeffrey Ford and Declan

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Kearney and the commentator and former victims Commissioner Patricia

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McBride. That is our line-up tonight. You are to have your part

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to play. This is how you can get in touch.

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You can follow the programme on Twitter. The details are on your

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screen. Let's get into the questions. I would like to ask the

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panel how do I convince my children to vote given their perception of

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the standards and behaviours of MLAs during the expanses? This is a hot

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topic this week with the independent financial review panel talking about

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secret regulars is for having expenses claims reviewed, denied of

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course all around but it has left a bad taste. Jim Allister you have

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talked about this, is it a big deal? It is a big deal because it is

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public money. This is not party many. This is public money. Public

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money that apparently is being squandered through a system which

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totally lacks the adequate checks and balances. Your sister programme

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did an investigation couple of years ago exposed the fact that ?700,000

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of public money had been paid to Sinn Fein front organisation called

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Ireland research and yet they couldn't find a single scrap of

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research that had ever been completed either Wadi. It had been

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set up either financial managers of Sinn Fein. Tell us what research was

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done. One of the tragedies is that the Assembly Commission which is

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supposed to look at this matter does not seem to have even investigated

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whether or not the research was done. Yesterday the DUP and Sinn

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Fein were jumping up and down to defend the integrity of the expenses

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system. Tonight the job First Minister is having to call for a

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review but they had their chance three months ago in the fresh start

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document and they said that fundamentally the expenses system,

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the architecture is sound. We have Sinn Fein year. ?700,000 is a lot of

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money for research that can't be found. As all of the enquiries

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demonstrated Sinn Fein was absolutely and completely compliant

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with the regulations that were set down by the relevant audience. Sinn

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Fein has used the funding available to ensure there has been quality

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representation delivered by our representatives. Sinn Fein members

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enter the chamber of the assembly, they going fully equipped, informed,

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capable of dealing with the issues and the policy formation and taking

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forward the legislation that is necessary to try and ensure the

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answer to your question the outset, how do you convince your children

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that it's worthwhile floating -- voting? We do have a viable

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political process which serves the needs of citizens and that gives

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your children confidence that is a there but politics year. The parties

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have given good representation without that ?700,000. We have

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demonstrated time and again we are entirely capable of ensuring that

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the political process is benefiting as a result of the public funding

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that is available for these purposes. Let me deal with this

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particular point. Public confidence needs to be maximised in the

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political process. We have come through five years of developing

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political instability and last year we came through a serious political

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crisis. Politics now needs to be seen in the context of the fresh

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start agreement. It did not say anything about expenses and

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transparency. It said the architecture was sound. And we

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welcome the continued operation of the body and were quite open to the

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suggestion that there is merit in exploring other mechanisms that

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would enhance public confidence in that little process as proper

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compliance. Do we need something like that, and entirely independent

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mechanism? I think we do. We have a system at Westminster which is

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proven to work. It is independent. I don't think it is a way forward that

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MLAs or political parties should be investigating these issues. It

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should be investigated by an independent body and we proposed two

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years ago when this issue came up that we should introduce the system

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at the assembly. We still hold that view. How come that fresh start said

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the architecture is sound? The fresh start is an all-party document

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agreement. We tried to persuade people and we will continue to try

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and persuade people of the need to have an independent system to

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oversee the expenses at Stormont. That is our view. That was our view

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two years ago and it remains our view. The first Anniston today as

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reiterated that position. That is the DUP position. We are in a

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Coalition Government. There are now four parties in the government. We

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cant take decisions on our own. We have to persuade others to come on

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board. If other parties are prepared to do that we will have an

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independent system and then we can persuade your children that what we

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have in Stormont is more accountable and transparent. The Chief Whip was

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talking about the integrity of the expenses system. You did not back

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our proposal. If you are doing that now I welcome that. You are not

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going to bully me. I am going to speak. If you are coming on board

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for an independent system, you did not do it. It's not just about Sinn

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Fein and that ?700,000 it's about the back door system apparently that

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MLAs are going to members of the staff at Stormont and saying I know

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this has been refused his expenses claim but maybe you can fix it for

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me. I don't know what the specific start. That is the allegation. If

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people are explaining and expenses claim they have a right to do that

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but what we do need... Not behind the door though. That is not an

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official challenge -- channelling that sense. That is an issue about

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transparency. It's an issue about public funding, it's an issue about

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how assembly funding is used. It's also about how we persuade young

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people to engage in the literal process. Everywhere I go I meet

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young people who are engaged in the political process but they are not

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keen on what they think politics is a storm on. They are interested in

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all kinds of things but not the shenanigans they see at Stormont all

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the time. Let's see this in the context of what it is and it's an

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issue over accountability. It pains me to say it but I agree with Jim

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Allister. We have a serious problem of accountability in the Stormont

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structures. There is no accountability in the system we have

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now. We need some kind of institutional reform so that our

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politicians can be held accountable and that the minute the only

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accountability coming from within Stormont is from the naughty corner

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of the Green party and the independent MLAs. You mean you want

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a proper opposition. That would be nice but we need processes in place.

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Any other young people who would like to venture a thought about

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their feelings this week with this expenses business? We need to

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implement the system we have at Westminster. It is invaluable to

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have public trust in politicians and in our politics and it's one of the

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only ways we would be able to re-establish that trust. I want to

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bring Patricia in. Is your confidence in the assembler at a low

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ebb? There are two issues, the first is around the expenses issue itself

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and how that is best dealt with. The announcement now that there will be

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a further review of how those expenses are as a positive thing but

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from what I can see of the investigations to date there has

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been, nobody has acted outside of the rules and we need to examine

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whether the rules are right or wrong. The second issue is the

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original question which is around how do we get young people to engage

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and the gentleman talking about accountability. The key to

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accountability is the election and that is happening in May. That is

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the opportunity for people to put forward their views. Do you think

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that issues like this are high up the agenda of the voters? I think

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when you look at the trend in elections where we have seen

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turnouts in the last number of years it's showing disaffection with the

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political situation generally. That is the concern so the challenge for

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all the parties when they are campaigning for the assembly

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elections will be how do you reinvigorate that vote? And more

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importantly what safeguards can you put in place to make sure the public

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representatives are accountable. Might the young people be disengaged

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from politics because our representatives are failing to

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address any of our needs. We have the highest levels of youth

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unemployment. Young people in care are disproportionately represented

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within our justice system. I could go on. You are not delivering to

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young people. I was going to say that we need to ensure that that is

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maximum transparency and integrity and if there are other mechanisms we

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can introduce that will guarantee that is the case and give confidence

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the under people then we should absolutely do that. However, Jim

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Allister is no paragon to lead the charge in relation to integrity and

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standards and how the system should operate. He does not -- he does

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everything a candid giant drag wallet it down. I shine the dark --

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the light into the dark spotlight of Stormont. I am proud to shown that

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spotlight. But we still haven't heard were the ?700,000 went. What

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research it purchased. It went into the cough is of Sinn Fein. This was

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a company set up by the Finance managers. We are going to come back

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to Alan. Buy you encouraged by what you hear? I have been trying to

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convince my two sons to vote but I have not succeeded. Based on what I

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am hearing, I don't think I am going to be any more successful.

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People have to ask themselves and if you take Sinn Fein, they held the

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country to ransom recently for a year based on... I'm talking about

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the resistance to austerity cuts proposed by David Cameron's

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government. From my point of view, ?700,000 which cannot be accounted

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for, I still have not heard anything which says to me where that ?700,000

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went. I will move it on. The second question is from Anita Murphy. My

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question is, how is Northern Ireland supposed to believe in a sheared

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society if our first Minister has declined invitations to the 1916

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centenary celebrations. The first Minister is going to Dublin this

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week to our Church of Ireland, the historical centenary working group

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at Christ Church Cathedral. She will be at that. But it did not set a

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very good example, Jeffrey Donaldson, when she said she would

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not take part in anything to commemorate a failed revolution

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which was a strike against a moxie? Is she not entitled to her a few?

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Are we going to rewrite the history of 1916? -- against democracy. You

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can be an apologist all you want and whoever else wants to be... But I am

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entitled and she is entitled to view an act that when people walk in and

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shoot a policeman in a police station whether in 1916 or 2016, it

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is wrong. You do not glorify those acts. Arlene Foster is trying to

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understand better the views of other people and those -- on this issue

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which is why she will go to the event organised by the Church of

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Ireland. If your measure of fairness for our future, if your message to

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our children is we glorify acts of terrorism, whether they occurred in

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1916 or 2016, if that is the way to measure fairness, I disagree

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strongly with that. I want our children to understand that violence

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and terrorism for whatever reason... Go-ahead. I did not mention the word

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horrify. 1916 happened. Arlene Foster, as first minister of

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Northern Ireland should respect that and have some sort of involvement

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and appreciation of that. Just like we had Martin McGuinness shaking

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hands with the Queen. The Queen met with Mary McAleese. We all have to

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except that the past she does. The same way that when the Queen visited

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the Republic of Ireland the first time, Sinn Fein boycotted the event.

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If you are going down the road of giving me lectures on history,

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please do not go there because for everything you put in front of me, I

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will have something to put in front of you. I am sure you well. The

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reality is Arlene Foster is the first Minister of Northern Ireland.

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Dublin is not in Northern Ireland. This is not a commemoration taking

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place in Northern Ireland, it is in the Republic of Ireland. What do you

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think Arlene Foster should do? I think her decision to attend the

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event in Dublin tomorrow is a positive one and a brave one, given

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that it goes against what she had said... I think whoever organises

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the event is irrelevant. This is an event which is part of a series of

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events to commemorate 1916. It might be called discussion. The fact she

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is attending is positive. The question was around a sheared future

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and respect for one another, shading diverse histories. The Easter Rising

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wasn't terrorism, it was the end of an empire. It was about Irish

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citizens standing up for self-determination and making that

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first set. A few Irish citizens. Killing a lot of other Irish

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citizens. It was the beginning of a movement towards an Irish Republic

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so it is dear to the hearts of not only Irish citizens in this part of

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the Ireland but Irish citizens throughout the world. Arlene Foster

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is the first Minister for all of the citizens as she has a duty as first

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minister to represent all of the citizens, much the same way as

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Martin McGuinness did when ye engaged with the Queen and as

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Jeffrey Donaldson does when he represents his constituents, as does

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Jim Allister. It is no different, she has a duty to do that and should

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do so to the fullest extent. What do you think? I welcome the fact that

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Arlene Foster is going to attend the event in Dublin. However, Geoffrey

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did not add to your question and that type of antagonistic approach

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in relation to this debate and then attempting to reducing it down to...

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Is the wrong way to approach how we jointly celebrate, commemorate and

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remember the events of 1916. Flip it over to the other side, I could make

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remarks about the imperialist carnage that was evidenced

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throughout 1916. An event such as the Battle of the storm which caused

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so much human destruction and carnage, in the interests of

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imperialism which led predictably -- directly to conditions which gave

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rise to nine -- World War II and that is a fair analysis. We need to

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understand that his narrative towards understanding events like

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the Battle of the storm and I need to be respectful of that narrative.

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We have an opportunity in 2016 to take big iconic universities, Easter

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week and the Battle of the storm. The distinct narrative of our

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sheared history and begin to exist will work together in a reasoned way

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how perhaps we can begin to build a sheared culture of commemoration in

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our society that is based on mutual respect. -- Battle of Somme. How do

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you explain it Sinn Fein's boycott of the Queen's visit. At that time,

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we did not feel it was right. So this sheared future is depending on

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your interpretation? It is not because what Queen Elizabeth did

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during that visit was quite remarkable. She made a huge

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contribution, in my opinion, to the Irish peace process is. In the

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period since, the English royal house is dedicated and committed to

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the development of the peace process which is far in advance of some of

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her unionist political representatives. This is one of the

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problems. Declan cannot even come to call my Queen anything other than

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English. She is the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and

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Northern Ireland. Let me finish. Excuse me. Listen to the year

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please. Declan, Declan. Let us have another word from the panel. I

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totally repudiate any equivalence between the 1916 rebellion and the

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phenomenal sacrifice of the Battle of the Somme. Grubby little

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rebellion of the 1916 was trying to take advantage of the fact that

:24:14.:24:18.

nation when a wartime to liberate Europe. Men of valour were out

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fighting that war in Europe. What happens? The Republicans tried to

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take at vantage of that with their rebellion of 1916. What we saw at

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the storm, the valour of men prepared in a cause of honour and

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freedom for us all that we still enjoy, prepare to make that

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sacrifice and I utterly repudiate attempts to create an equivalence.

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-- Somme. To me the Easter Rising is nothing. You do not recognise its

:24:58.:25:04.

historical importance? It is important to San but as a unionist,

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there is nothing for me to celebrate in rebellion against the British

:25:12.:25:19.

Crown. -- important to Somme. I think the tone is of celebration. We

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had Patricia talk about the sacrifice which she would translate

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into more recent time for when those who set about the terrorism of

:25:31.:25:35.

recent times, she equates with those who set about the terrorism of 1916.

:25:36.:25:42.

I repudiate that. There is no equivalence between defence of the

:25:43.:25:47.

realm and what happened at the Somme and what happens at the Easter

:25:48.:25:54.

Rising? I do not say anything to celebrate. I think it is fair I

:25:55.:26:01.

should come back. I will let you come back. This gentleman. It is

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ironic for Sinn Fein or anyone like them to talk about it quality when

:26:08.:26:13.

given me murder people on the basis of their politics and religion. They

:26:14.:26:21.

cannot even let Orange men up our roads, 20 years after the Good

:26:22.:26:26.

Friday Agreement we still have Sinn Fein creating residents groups. Sinn

:26:27.:26:30.

Fein is not stopping people marching up roads. Gentleman in the jackets.

:26:31.:26:43.

It is clear we are not going to agree about the Easter Rising

:26:44.:26:46.

tonight, tomorrow night or next year. But it is not about glorifying

:26:47.:26:54.

or celebrating, it is about engaging with it. If Arlene Foster had taken

:26:55.:27:00.

part in events in Dublin, it would have been more nuanced. I would like

:27:01.:27:08.

to ask Mr Donaldson and Mr Alistair how our union is going to engage in

:27:09.:27:13.

a sheared future if it is not through gestures like that? --

:27:14.:27:20.

Unionists. That is the point I wanted to make. It is not about

:27:21.:27:25.

commemoration but engagement and shaving at sheared future and

:27:26.:27:32.

understanding diverse futures. -- shading as sheared future. There is

:27:33.:27:37.

no comparison. The Easter Rising was about... I understand. You agree

:27:38.:27:50.

with him on that. I have problems with the concept of celebrating the

:27:51.:27:56.

Easter Rising. I also have problems with what Unionists did three years

:27:57.:28:00.

ago when they celebrated the Ulster government because those were two

:28:01.:28:05.

sides of the same coin. I want no part in either of those. There are

:28:06.:28:10.

issues to look at seriously and I have opened my diary for

:28:11.:28:14.

opportunities to travel to Dublin to consider activities regarding 1916

:28:15.:28:20.

but I was unable to accept an invitation for family reasons. When

:28:21.:28:24.

I discovered that recognition of the 1st of January, the raising of the

:28:25.:28:29.

flag in Dublin Castle involved reading out the names of 78

:28:30.:28:34.

volunteers who died with no reference to civilians, police

:28:35.:28:40.

officers, the 14 children in Dublin who died, I do think Democratic

:28:41.:28:45.

politicians in Dublin have a difficult job screening with the way

:28:46.:28:50.

they feel, the release date the Republic began on Easter Monday

:28:51.:28:54.

rather than Easter Sunday and yet they have moved into an entirely

:28:55.:28:57.

different position now in constitutional politics from what

:28:58.:29:03.

that was about. I think there is a difficulty squealing that, just like

:29:04.:29:08.

Unionists who celebrate rebellion against the Crown in the Ulster

:29:09.:29:10.

covenant. There was no comparison with the

:29:11.:29:29.

bloodthirsty events of 1916. I believe we should look at this. We

:29:30.:29:43.

have to look at the positives if you could take us back we will never get

:29:44.:29:53.

forward. We're moving on. I was wondering what the panel thought on

:29:54.:29:58.

whether there would be run an Irish passports from Unionists if the UK

:29:59.:30:09.

voted to leave the EU? Because they would be so desperate to remain in

:30:10.:30:20.

the EU? I think it's more than likely that the Republic of Ireland

:30:21.:30:25.

will be rushing to following such tough follower of the EU. Look at it

:30:26.:30:37.

financially, as a nation we pour ?20 billion a year into Europe and we

:30:38.:30:42.

get 10 billion back so we are ?10 billion on every year. We are a

:30:43.:30:49.

trading nation but most of our trade is outside the EU. Our trade with

:30:50.:30:53.

the rest of Europe is falling. Europe now has the lowest GDP of all

:30:54.:31:00.

enlightened areas of the world. So the future lies outside the EU for a

:31:01.:31:04.

trading nation and yet because of EU rules we cannot even have a trade

:31:05.:31:11.

agreement with North America, America which ours who are biggest

:31:12.:31:15.

trading partner because only Brussels can make trading

:31:16.:31:19.

agreements. Independent nation states like the UK can't by virtue

:31:20.:31:25.

of Brussels rules make a trade agreement on their own right. We

:31:26.:31:31.

cant decide our own laws, we cant decide this and our own borders. We

:31:32.:31:38.

are subject to all the hideous bureaucracy so getting out of the EU

:31:39.:31:44.

would be liberating financially and liberating for our freestanding as a

:31:45.:31:59.

nation. You are shaking your head. I think the point is well made in

:32:00.:32:04.

terms of people seeking Irish passports. As somebody was science

:32:05.:32:07.

passport application forms for people I can tell you the vast

:32:08.:32:11.

majority of senior citizens carry Irish passports because they are

:32:12.:32:15.

free. That is something that has started to happen but Jim talks

:32:16.:32:24.

about leaving the U as being positive but that is simply not the

:32:25.:32:28.

truth. If you are sitting there, let me paint this scenario, URA unionist

:32:29.:32:34.

farmer and you have a nice big dairy farm and a single farm payment

:32:35.:32:37.

coming in every and you look across the fence and there is your

:32:38.:32:43.

neighbour with the same sort of farm getting a nice single farm payment

:32:44.:32:47.

every year. Do you really think that if Britain comes out of the EU

:32:48.:32:50.

George Osborne is going to write a cheque for up to get that single

:32:51.:32:59.

farm payment? If you look at the amount of money in single farm

:33:00.:33:02.

payments and the amount of money the North has benefited in terms of the

:33:03.:33:17.

programmes, this part of the island as benefited from the. The figures

:33:18.:33:28.

the 2014 with 300 million, the infrastructure gave Northern Ireland

:33:29.:33:38.

was a total of 433 million. Where is your single farm payment coming

:33:39.:33:47.

from? We get ?433 million back of our own money. What you think our

:33:48.:33:53.

share of the 20 billion is? It is five or ?600 million a year and in

:33:54.:33:58.

response to that we get some of it back. Then farmers are leaving the

:33:59.:34:04.

North because they cannot make a living. Jeffrey Donaldson. There are

:34:05.:34:21.

various views within the DUP. Will you be voting to leave in the

:34:22.:34:30.

referendum? I am not going to indulge Patricia in the fantasy

:34:31.:34:33.

stuff she has come up with. Every penny that goes to the farmers in

:34:34.:34:37.

Northern Ireland is paid for by the taxpayers of Northern Ireland. Every

:34:38.:34:42.

time you buy goods and pay VAT on it money goes Europe.

:34:43.:34:55.

So George Osborne is going to carry on writing a cheque? I believe are

:34:56.:35:06.

taught to the government and I believe the government will continue

:35:07.:35:08.

to support the farming industry. It's interesting I think that we

:35:09.:35:13.

will wait and see what the Prime Minister comes back with. He has

:35:14.:35:17.

gone and is trying to get a deal for reform. We will make our judgment. I

:35:18.:35:27.

am highly sceptical. I do think what he wants to deliver will bring the

:35:28.:35:31.

reforms people in the UK want and if that's the case the DUP will be

:35:32.:35:35.

voting to leave and we will do so on the basis that the UK pays in far

:35:36.:35:39.

more to the European Union that we get back and that is an indisputable

:35:40.:35:46.

fundamental fact. It means that outside of the European Union the UK

:35:47.:35:49.

will have more money than it has inside the EU. It is interesting I

:35:50.:35:56.

think that when people like Patricia make the case that the EU all they

:35:57.:36:01.

want to do is stare us. They want to say if you leave here are the

:36:02.:36:04.

consequences. The consequences are we will have more money to spend on

:36:05.:36:18.

the things we need to spend on. A few short weeks ago I asked to

:36:19.:36:22.

questions and they asked whether except would-be interests of

:36:23.:36:27.

Northern Ireland and she can answer and there is said with the loss of

:36:28.:36:31.

all the funding which we have the camera lions upon the terms of our

:36:32.:36:38.

industry like fishing and infrastructure and in relation to

:36:39.:36:43.

the peace process, when asked the question would the British

:36:44.:36:45.

Government replace that funding chief urged that question as well.

:36:46.:36:58.

The reality is that Ireland's bases in Europe and the best place for us

:36:59.:37:03.

to be as within the confines of the European Union building and ensuring

:37:04.:37:09.

the European Union asks as a social Europe benefiting all of our

:37:10.:37:17.

citizens economic leak of rights. This is an agenda being driven by

:37:18.:37:23.

narrow in list nationalists and Tory vested interests.

:37:24.:37:35.

David Ford, Mike Nesbitt came back from America saying America wanted a

:37:36.:37:42.

strong UK in a strong European Union. President Obama said that.

:37:43.:37:49.

This question started off with something about passports. I know

:37:50.:37:56.

lots of people carry passports but the issue of Exeter is not just

:37:57.:38:00.

about economic 's which we could haggle about all day. It's about the

:38:01.:38:04.

fundamentals of what the European Union means. The act of establishing

:38:05.:38:11.

peace post-World War II by the original six members of the hugely

:38:12.:38:15.

significant stake and. I had the opportunity to be in Copenhagen the

:38:16.:38:19.

night before ten countries joined a few years ago and one of those I was

:38:20.:38:24.

with recalled seeing the Soviet altered fleet sailed past Copenhagen

:38:25.:38:31.

and a few short years later three of the Soviet republics were joining

:38:32.:38:38.

the European Union. Justice cooperation is much easier because

:38:39.:38:44.

we are in the European Union. So it's much bigger than economic 's. I

:38:45.:38:57.

think Patricia has engaged in the usual pro-European scare tactics. It

:38:58.:39:04.

is very clear. I am a British passport holder and any of the

:39:05.:39:07.

benefits we get out of Europe we more than people.

:39:08.:39:20.

I would just like to address a couple of the points. The bottom

:39:21.:39:32.

line is 50% of what goes on in Brussels is very commendable as the

:39:33.:39:38.

reason it was put together in the first place to stop another world

:39:39.:39:42.

war. The other 50% is corporate controlled as is Westminster.

:39:43.:39:51.

Patricia has eluded that the subsidy coming from Brussels are good that

:39:52.:39:55.

the subsidies at the same road coming since 2003 that are arriving

:39:56.:40:02.

today. So by next year they will be worth 32% less than what they were

:40:03.:40:15.

in 2003. I think we have to consider not looking for the economic

:40:16.:40:18.

advantage but the other advantage for being a European citizen. I

:40:19.:40:23.

choose to live here in this territory and if you look what you

:40:24.:40:29.

are getting in return for what you have given you might consider how

:40:30.:40:34.

many European citizens are making businesses in the UK and bringing in

:40:35.:40:42.

coming to the UK. We are going to move on. The next question comes

:40:43.:40:53.

from David Gleave. With younger generations influenced by issues

:40:54.:41:00.

like the economy and equality, why do Northern Ireland politicians

:41:01.:41:06.

refer to the past? It is in the news again that the Lord Chief Justice is

:41:07.:41:11.

talking about the legacy UNIX needed for inquests. The past is always

:41:12.:41:25.

there. Declan key any, why will it always be there? We need to ensure

:41:26.:41:31.

that the past is put in the past and the basis of the agreement that was

:41:32.:41:39.

signed last November and the fresh start reinstated the mechanisms

:41:40.:41:41.

which would allow us to move forward. Mechanisms that would give

:41:42.:41:45.

us the ability to deal with the legacy of our past. The difficulty

:41:46.:41:50.

is that the British Government having previously agreed to support

:41:51.:41:56.

those mechanisms during the course of the negotiations leading up to

:41:57.:41:59.

finality on the agreement in November reneged on its commit went

:42:00.:42:06.

for information disclosure. The sooner we get the British Government

:42:07.:42:11.

to recommit to the fresh start agreement and the mechanisms that

:42:12.:42:15.

all the parties have put in place to deal with the past then we will get

:42:16.:42:19.

to the place about which you speak. But the biggest government needs as

:42:20.:42:25.

a matter of absolute urgency to commit to a position where it they

:42:26.:42:31.

can and should be full information disclosure and start high -- stop

:42:32.:42:35.

hiding behind the shame of national security but if you look at the

:42:36.:42:39.

inquest which took place in relation to young Arlene Atkinson's death in

:42:40.:42:48.

the last 24 hours and learned then that the insulation that her family

:42:49.:42:52.

is looking for cannot in fact be disclosed because the British

:42:53.:42:57.

government have agreed to actually refuse information disclosure to

:42:58.:43:01.

that grieving family, I think that demonstrates that it British

:43:02.:43:05.

Government has not got to point where they can be trusted. Let's

:43:06.:43:09.

ensure that the mechanisms we have in place are fully permitted and

:43:10.:43:15.

let's ensure that all parties to the agreement commits to full

:43:16.:43:20.

information disclosure. Declan talks about the myth of national security.

:43:21.:43:30.

If this led to the disclosure of capabilities and techniques which

:43:31.:43:32.

would be of value to terrorists there would be a veto. Is that a

:43:33.:43:35.

myth? National security is not a myth but

:43:36.:43:48.

we suffered when a draft bill was introduced to replace the legacy

:43:49.:43:53.

issues and had about four layers of security which suggested that was

:43:54.:43:58.

their priority. The proposal the Lord Chief Justice is making about

:43:59.:44:03.

inquests looked at the issue of full disclosure from the police, Ministry

:44:04.:44:07.

of defence and other agencies to the judge who will be conducting the

:44:08.:44:11.

legacy inquests and it will be for the judge to produce a summary for

:44:12.:44:16.

families. That puts it away from government and in the hands of

:44:17.:44:20.

judges and that is something which should be more acceptable. There are

:44:21.:44:26.

real challenges to get an appropriate measure of national

:44:27.:44:30.

security. Thankfully as devolved Justice Minister I have nothing to

:44:31.:44:34.

do with national security but can see the implications and there are

:44:35.:44:39.

real challenges and to state is a myth is nonsense but to put on the

:44:40.:44:46.

multiple layers which the government put on before Christmas, with the

:44:47.:44:49.

result that victims of the past got let down in the deal. The deal that

:44:50.:44:53.

the DUP and the Sinn Fein did with the two governments. The veto was

:44:54.:44:59.

described as a smothering blanket, do you agree? I do not. Any state in

:45:00.:45:07.

the world has to pay attention to national security issues. There is a

:45:08.:45:12.

bigger agenda going on year. We hear Sinn Fein C the British government

:45:13.:45:17.

must open their books. We saw what happened when Martin McGuinness went

:45:18.:45:22.

to this travelling quietly, he took the first. He said his oath as an

:45:23.:45:29.

IRA man suppressed everything and he couldn't tell the truth. It is very

:45:30.:45:33.

strange that Sinn Fein are very adamant about getting the British

:45:34.:45:38.

government to open the books but when are Sinn Fein and the IoD going

:45:39.:45:42.

to tell the truth about their hideous bloodthirsty terrorism. They

:45:43.:45:49.

try and turn every incident into a rewrite of history. Take the

:45:50.:45:55.

incident when eight of the most bloodthirsty terrorists went to do

:45:56.:46:02.

more murder and because policemen did not put up their hand and say

:46:03.:46:06.

would you like to come down to the PlayStation for a chat, the British

:46:07.:46:10.

government is vilified as those responsible for that incident. --

:46:11.:46:19.

the police station. The SAS did the right thing in dealing with

:46:20.:46:23.

terrorists armed to the teeth who were going to kill again. What Sinn

:46:24.:46:30.

Fein is trying to equate the lawful actions of the security forces and

:46:31.:46:36.

when they step outside the law, the law is there to deal with them. You

:46:37.:46:41.

cannot equate the actions of the security forces with the deliberate

:46:42.:46:44.

terrorist actions of those who skulk behind and shoot people. We have to

:46:45.:46:53.

move on. Patricia. Always about the past? I am surprised about Jim's

:46:54.:47:02.

disregard for the rule of law, everyone should be accountable under

:47:03.:47:09.

the rule of law. Please let her speak. Jim, could you please have

:47:10.:47:18.

the courtesy to let me speak. What concerns me the most is when you

:47:19.:47:28.

hear that the Secretary of State is refusing disclosure in the murder of

:47:29.:47:33.

a child by a paedophile, how can we expect there will be disclosure in

:47:34.:47:38.

the cases of anywhere else in the cases of conflict related deaths. We

:47:39.:47:43.

do not know what the reasons are for the lack of disclosure? There could

:47:44.:47:51.

be valid reasons. Why would public interest immunity certificates be

:47:52.:47:53.

relevant in the case of Arlene Arkinson? Who are we protecting

:47:54.:48:00.

your? That is concerning and it should be concerning to everyone who

:48:01.:48:05.

supports the rule of law. I have always been optimistic about the

:48:06.:48:09.

ability to deal with our past. I engage with everyone in this table

:48:10.:48:13.

at some stage around that. We need to go back to the blueprint, there

:48:14.:48:19.

was a lot of positive that came out of that in terms of dealing with the

:48:20.:48:26.

past. For those who say that Republicans would open up, loyalists

:48:27.:48:33.

want open up, test them. Put them out in front of the independent

:48:34.:48:40.

mechanism. We had this travelling quietly, we saw what Mick -- we saw

:48:41.:48:43.

what McGuinness did, he would not tell the truth. I do not hear

:48:44.:48:53.

anything coming from you that is forward-looking, positive or

:48:54.:48:58.

aspirational. I want these murderers dealt with, I do not want a

:48:59.:49:02.

whitewash like Sinn Fein want a whitewash, it is on the past, let us

:49:03.:49:09.

forget about it. We do want to deal with the past. I would remind you

:49:10.:49:15.

that it was Sinn Fein for a year who held up for I hear the Sinn Fein

:49:16.:49:21.

agreement -- book agreement. Sinn Fein held that agreement to ransom,

:49:22.:49:29.

no one else. We were the only party blocking implementation and the only

:49:30.:49:32.

party who disagrees with the British government over the question of

:49:33.:49:37.

national security, I again blocking the implementation of the Stormont

:49:38.:49:40.

house at agreement. I spent most of my day today dealing with education

:49:41.:49:49.

issues, housing, roads and planning, the local council and youth issues

:49:50.:49:55.

especially. The report for young people in my constituency. A tiny

:49:56.:49:59.

proportion of my time is devoted towards this issue but it is an

:50:00.:50:04.

important one and we need to deal with it. That means we have to

:50:05.:50:07.

strive to get justice for the innocent victims who still chase

:50:08.:50:16.

after justice. If I hear Declan talk about full disclosure, I was

:50:17.:50:19.

involved in this medic inquiry which investigated collusion between the

:50:20.:50:28.

Garda and the IRA. Sinn Fein are invited to take part. Gerry Adams

:50:29.:50:34.

finally agreed to two senior IoD... This is worth it. With all due

:50:35.:50:40.

respect, it is the kind of stuff you do not want to put on the BBC but I

:50:41.:50:49.

will put it on the BBC. They were asked to cooperate with the inquiry.

:50:50.:50:54.

Every time they were asked a question, they got out of the room,

:50:55.:50:59.

made a telephone call and called their superiors and returned and

:51:00.:51:03.

said they could not and so that question. Sinn Fein and the IRA will

:51:04.:51:09.

not tell the truth. There is no level playing field. I... When it

:51:10.:51:22.

comes to truth and transparency, Republicans say the majority of

:51:23.:51:26.

mergers was done by Republicans but most unresolved murders was by them.

:51:27.:51:33.

The call for the British government to be transparent but... It is

:51:34.:51:47.

hypocritical. We look at the South Africa getting past apartheid,

:51:48.:51:54.

Rwanda gets past genocide, Northern Ireland should deal with issues from

:51:55.:51:58.

the past but also move into the 21st century. Almost 20 years after the

:51:59.:52:05.

Good Friday Agreement we are still playing the blame game. We can agree

:52:06.:52:10.

that bloody massacres were done on all sides during the Troubles. We

:52:11.:52:15.

need commitment from our leaders to move forward and move away from this

:52:16.:52:23.

divided society. Northern Ireland itself suffered, you cannot move

:52:24.:52:28.

away with a past which is not dealt with. The factors, young

:52:29.:52:35.

working-class men on both sides of the community were led by their

:52:36.:52:42.

leaders. This set -- the psychological damage which was last,

:52:43.:52:50.

especially my background, a loyalist background, will not go away any

:52:51.:52:55.

time soon. Playing the blame game does not work any more, pointing the

:52:56.:52:59.

finger does not work, we need to come up with a constructive week to

:53:00.:53:04.

ensure that no mother's son comes home in a box again. We want next

:53:05.:53:13.

question from a legal assistant in Belfast. Can you explain why women

:53:14.:53:17.

in Northern Ireland don't have the same access to abortion as women

:53:18.:53:26.

elsewhere in the UK? Clearly the Assembly voted against any change in

:53:27.:53:33.

the law on foetal abnormality and reports incest. David Ford, the

:53:34.:53:43.

Ulster Unionists leaders said setting up a six-month working party

:53:44.:53:48.

was Dickensian and cruel. You said it was any screws to avoid the

:53:49.:53:55.

issue. The answer to the question is because abortion law is devolved.

:53:56.:54:01.

The question is why was blocked in the Assembly? -- any excuse. We got

:54:02.:54:08.

subterfuge and excuse last week. I can respect anyone who stands up and

:54:09.:54:13.

says I am morally opposed to abortion and I will vote against

:54:14.:54:21.

this. I was in agreement with the amendment and foetal abnormality but

:54:22.:54:25.

I cannot respect someone who stands up and says, after a lengthy

:54:26.:54:30.

consultation with the Department of Justice and proposals which have

:54:31.:54:32.

been sitting with the Executive since June last year, after all we

:54:33.:54:37.

have gone through over three years, we need another working group to

:54:38.:54:43.

look at it. And they say that at the last minute before that vote was

:54:44.:54:48.

taken. It was a ruse by the DUP which bought the SDLP and therefore

:54:49.:54:53.

blocked anything happening. The interesting point is who is going to

:54:54.:54:59.

run the working group? The statement from the leader of the DUP said the

:55:00.:55:04.

Minister of health was being asked. If so, it is a crosscutting issue

:55:05.:55:10.

because justice has responsibilities as well. Let me bring in Jeffrey

:55:11.:55:16.

Donaldson. Pushing it beyond the election? Not at all, David Ford is

:55:17.:55:25.

being disingenuous. We had this amendment two weeks before the

:55:26.:55:29.

debate and there was no consultation. This amendment

:55:30.:55:32.

proposed a fundamental change to the law of Northern Ireland. Listen to

:55:33.:55:39.

what I have to say. I listened to you and if you do not mind, I will

:55:40.:55:45.

now speak. The law in Northern Ireland says there can only be

:55:46.:55:47.

abortion where the life of the mother is at risk. That is wrong.

:55:48.:55:55.

That is correct. I know what the law on abortion says. It does not permit

:55:56.:55:59.

abortion in the circumstances you're talking about. The fundamental

:56:00.:56:05.

change to the law in Northern Ireland and you do not do that by

:56:06.:56:10.

way of amendment which is put forward two weeks before an

:56:11.:56:14.

important bill. That is not we do business and that is why we why we

:56:15.:56:20.

believe we have to look at this more carefully, get experts involved.

:56:21.:56:23.

David, you're not an expert this, neither am I. Wait on you what they

:56:24.:56:29.

have to say and then we can take an informed decision. What is needed is

:56:30.:56:33.

compassionate legislation in the north and we do not have this. This

:56:34.:56:41.

entire debate, conducted as it is, it ignores the trauma of mothers and

:56:42.:56:46.

fathers who find themselves in situations where the pregnancy has

:56:47.:56:54.

been caused as a result of sexual violence or a fatal foetal

:56:55.:56:58.

abnormality and the child being stillborn or with life limiting

:56:59.:57:00.

illnesses. We need to move as quickly as possible to a situation

:57:01.:57:09.

where those parents are given the type of support that we require with

:57:10.:57:11.

compassionate legislation which allows them and clinicians, doctors

:57:12.:57:15.

and nurses, to advise them on the best options available to them.

:57:16.:57:21.

Patricia. Finally the only person at the table with a uterus gets to

:57:22.:57:29.

speak. As long as you get to speak. I think this week's debate in the

:57:30.:57:34.

Assembly Alastair was very disappointing. It was a huge fudge

:57:35.:57:39.

by the DUP in the face of an alleged -- in the face of an election. No

:57:40.:57:45.

one wants to defend a difficult and emotive issue when the canvassing

:57:46.:57:51.

for an election. There is a lot of scaremongering going on around this

:57:52.:57:55.

debate. We're not talking about abortion on demand. It is when

:57:56.:58:00.

families face the good and dramatic circumstances. We're not saying that

:58:01.:58:06.

every case of fatal foetal abnormality will end in abortion.

:58:07.:58:11.

Some people will choose to carry through the pregnancy. Not every

:58:12.:58:16.

case of incest will carry through to abortion, some people will... We're

:58:17.:58:23.

running out of time. Yes we do need the legislation. We need to allow

:58:24.:58:27.

women the opportunity is to have a say over their own bodies. The

:58:28.:58:37.

question is why is the law as it is? Because that is the democratic will

:58:38.:58:43.

of those who were elected. Why isn't like that because the proposal from

:58:44.:58:48.

the Alliance Party was to introduce discrimination in respect of

:58:49.:58:52.

disabled children, those who would be born unable to live beyond a

:58:53.:58:59.

short time. Not scaremongering. The proposer wanted to decide that those

:59:00.:59:05.

children could be aborted, able-bodied children could not be.

:59:06.:59:14.

Under the UN protection... You cannot link those two. I am sorry

:59:15.:59:21.

David Ford we have to finish year. We did our best. That is all for

:59:22.:59:28.

tonight. Thank you to our panel, our studio audience and you for

:59:29.:59:32.

watching. You can continue the debate online. Until the next time,

:59:33.:59:36.

a very good night.

:59:37.:59:39.

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