18/10/2016 Spotlight


18/10/2016

A studio audience puts questions to a panel of politicians. With Gavin Robinson, John O'Dowd, Naomi Long, Mike Nesbitt and Colum Eastwood. Noel Thompson presents.


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hello and welcome to Spotlight special, where our studio audience

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put questions to our panel of politicians on the week's main

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talking points. How guests tonight are Gavin Robinson, the DUP MP for

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West Belfast, the leader of the SDLP, the Sinn Fein Brexit spokesman

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in the assembly, John O'Dowd, Mike Nesbitt, the Ulster Unionist Party

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do, and the acting leader of the Alliance party, and fully expected

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to be elected leader very soon, unless it all goes wrong tonight,

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Naomi! I'm sure it won't. That is our panel tonight's Spotlight

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special. And you at home can take part. This is how you can get in

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touch with your thoughts. Textual, throughout the programme: Texts will

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be charged at your standard rate. Or you can phone is: Standard

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geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply.

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You can also e-mail us and to eat your comments to us using the

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hashtag SpotlightNI. And you can follow the programme on Twitter. We

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are at BBCSpotlightNI. The first question tonight is from Rosemary

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Alistair, a PR consultant. Is Hillary Clinton the lesser of two

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evils? Well, the election, of course, is on

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November the 8th. They are supposed to be the two most unpopular

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candidates in the modern history of the American state, Hillary with a

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7-point lead currently over Donald Trump in the poll of polls, but it

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is far from over yet. Have you been following events stateside?

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I have, and I would have to say, I don't think she is the lesser of two

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evils. I think she is the better and more qualified of two candidates. I

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think ultimately, when you want to elect somebody to the most powerful

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post in the country, you want somebody who has the experience, the

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gravitas, and the ability to negotiate some fairly complex

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issues. She is crooked Hillary, for heaven

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's sake! According to Donald. Exactly. Well, the world according

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to Donald is not the world I live in, and most of the people I know

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would want to live in either. And I have huge respect for Hillary

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Clinton, and I suspect that she is fighting a number of issues. When he

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had been in politics for a while, you have a record and it will be

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held to account for it in the way a fresh face would not be. I think the

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second thing is, she has all of the things that anyone who has ever been

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president will have. She is tenacious, determined, ambitious,

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but when women are those things, it is often seen as a negative, and I

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think she suffers greatly from that. I personally think she would be a

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great president. I have to say, I do not believe that Donald Trump would

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be a great president, but we do not know who will be in the White House,

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and he may well prove as all wrong. Good Hillary or Donald of the

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groper? Well, it is a matter for the

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American people. I believe that Donald Trump's comments about

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everybody who is not a white, rich, American are disgraceful, and I

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would not endorse them in any way. But the American people will decide

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who leads them. If you live there, would you vote

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for him? I don't live there.

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Oh, come on, everybody has a view. Given his comments, as I am worried

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about everybody who is not a white, rich American and a male, I would

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not vote for him. But the American people must make these decisions.

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The American electoral system, to me, requires radical reform. When

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you end up with a constant presidential election campaign

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between the two main parties, with very little ideological difference

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between them in terms of policy, I think it is worrying for democracy

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in general. But we will see what comes out of the other side.

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So, Hillary is the lesser of two evils, according to you?

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Well, you are trying to put words in my mouth.

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You could answer the question. Whoever comes out the other side of

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the American election, presidential election campaign, we want them to

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have a huge interest in Ireland, in the peace process and the economy

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and our future. So there are a lot of things you could say, but I'm not

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going to, because I want to ensure that all the parties around this

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table, the executive, have access to the most powerful people in the

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world, and that we can rely on them to support us if and when we need.

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I can as bit, Northern Ireland has something of a special relationship

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with Hillary, and all that, but does that blind us to her false?

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No, I don't think it should, but if you are looking at one candidate

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against the other, what I think is extraordinary is that Donald Trump

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has not moderated his views since he became the candidate, and he has not

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tried to broaden his appeal beyond a very specific base. But that

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actually may turn out to be a very good thing, because that may well be

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what costs in the election, and from our point of view...

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Wins in the election! I think it is just too narrow a base.

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Hillary Clinton is somebody who has invested a lot in Northern Ireland,

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not just the Americans, but the Clinton family have invested a lot

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in the peace process here. I was with her envoy earlier this morning,

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Senator Gary Hart, and naturally being a Democrat, he is incredibly

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disturbed at the prospect of somebody like Donald Trump

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representing an ideal that is the modern America. So, yes, while

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Hillary Clinton has her faults, she has made a mistake and been very

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open about it, I think she would be the better candidate, and you would

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certainly be a lot better for us here in Northern Ireland.

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People have a habit of growing into the office, which is granted to

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them. I mean, look at Ronald Reagan, for example. Everyone thought, what

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a disaster, a Hollywood actor in the White House. Do you think Donald

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Trump, were he to be elected, could become a president people would

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respect? No. Donald Trump is not somebody...

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Well, he is no Ronald Reagan. I had difficulties with Ronald Reagan. I

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new Ronald Reagan, Senator! Exactly. What hears is someone who

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has more respect for Vladimir Putin than Barack Obama. That is good

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enough for me to understand that he is not a very suitable person.

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Well, he respects the strength of leadership that Putin shows. Some

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say America needs that kind of leadership.

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Well, I don't think Donald Trump is a leader. We should not take this

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very lightly. He is somebody who has talked openly and closed about

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sexually assaulting women. That is who Donald Trump is, and he is

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somebody that will destroy the reputation of America.

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Locker room talk? It is not locker room talk to talk

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about women like that. He will destroy the reputation of America

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and is already doing that, around the world, and that is very

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dangerous for here and the world. Hillary Clinton has been a great

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supporter of Northern Ireland, a great supporter of our peace

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process. But that does not mean she would be

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a good leader of America. I think she will be. I don't agree

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with everything she does or says, many of her foreign policy, but I

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have much more faith in here than that other person, and I don't think

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this is funny. This is a very, very serious thing, and I think the

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American people will see through it. We should not take it for granted.

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If anyone has relatives in America, they should be getting on the phone

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to them and telling them what the world thinks of Donald Trump,

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because that is very important. Anyone support Donald Trump in the

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audience tonight? Go ahead, please. I would like to

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know, would you be prepared to work him when he is elected?

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Sorry, just a little louder. Will you work with him when he is

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elected? Well, I think John O'Dowd said he

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would, but what about you, Gavin? I suspect that if he ever wins, we

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will work with them -- whoever wins. But I don't think it is a choice, I

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think it is a huge dilemma for the people of the United States of

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America. I think they're a huge drawbacks with both, but if you

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listen to the thereat Barossa T of the campaign of Donald Trump, and

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yet he is only seven points behind. All that has been thrown at him, all

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the criticism that has been levelled at him, this is not just a small,

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narrow base supporting Donald Trump. This is a huge swathe of the

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American electorate. Part of me says that is worrying. The other worrying

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thing is, Hillary Clinton wins. The last 40 years in the land of

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opportunity has been dominated by two families. Had Jeb Bush beat

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Donald Trump on the Republican primaries, it would have been

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guaranteed that the bar from Barack Obama's eight years, we have had 40

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years of uninterrupted control by two powerful families. That does not

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suggest it is the land of opportunity that we are led to

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respect. But is that partly why Arnold Trump

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has attracted the support, because it is seen that he is the to hell

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with the rest of you candidate, he is not part of the Washington

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bubble, but will do it his way? Absolutely, and I think we're

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turning politics on its head in the state, same as in the UK, as someone

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said, or across the EU, with many candidates who are to the extreme

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right or left succeeding. The other interesting thing is, Donald Trump

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and Hillary Clinton have both turned on their head what we recognise to

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be Republican and Democratic politics. The Republican party will

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be seen as an interventionist party, whereas Donald Trump is an

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isolationist. Hillary Clinton is very much an interventionist,

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someone who during her time in the state Department took action across

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the world, whereas that would not necessarily be the Democratic view,

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nor the view endorsed by Bernie Sanders. So both of them are turning

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politics on their heads. You a drum supporter?

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No! I did want to say, I am American, and I don't want to speak

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under half of the American people. We feel your pain.

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Yes! It is unfair, but I think there is a lesson here, in that yes, they

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are two of the most hated candidates for president, but they were elected

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by one third of eligible voters, said two thirds of the American

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people said our vote does not matter. Clearly it does, and I think

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that is a lesson for the world. That is democracy. Any Trump

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supporters? Did you have your hand up? Yes, sir. Go ahead.

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You know, in all fairness and honesty, I understand the way people

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view Donald Trump. They have got a great deal of disdain towards him,

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his comments were very misogynistic, they were vituperative, but they are

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just comments. They are just comments, and I am not trying to

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placate or excuse them, but when you look back from 1993 to 2001, Bill

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Clinton physically abused the presidency of the United States.

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Yes, but Bill Clinton is not running for president. I think it is

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unfortunate... APPLAUSE

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Hillary is her own person, and I are happy for people to attack her

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record, but I think to attack her for her husband's behaviour.

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They do attack her for her response to that. She is accused of bullying

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some of these women. Well, they say that, but Donald

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Trump, it is not just words. He has made it clear that he was bragging

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and boasting about having assaulted women, so it is not just words, it

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is the action that lies behind those words, and for me to say it is

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locker room talk or just how men are, actually does a disservice to

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most of the men that I know, because they are better than that, in fact.

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I wanted to ask you, Mike, because you have been an athlete, a rugby

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player, sports man. Did you ever hear talk like that in the locker

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room? Not sure I did. No, I don't remember talk like that,

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actually, and I know you say these are just comments, but this man is a

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politician, and surely our comments define who we are. They reveal our

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values, and our thoughts on life. Can you really support that?

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Well, you know, in all fairness, again, I am not excusing them, but

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he was not really a politician back then, and with regard to attacking

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her record... He is a human being. Does that not

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tell you about his values as a human being?

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Well, certainly does, yes. I want to bring in John O'Dowd

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quickly. I think it reflects a broader change

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in politics across the Western world, a politics based on fear and

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extremism. I was recently in America, in New York, in Manhattan,

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and I have to say, I was shocked at the scale of poverty I witnessed on

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the streets of New York. In the early morning, when going to the

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train station, the shop fronts were full of people sleeping. There are

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people in wheelchairs out at night sleeping, people looking through

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bins for food. I went for a coffee the afternoon before I left the

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airport, and in a plaza just seventh Ave, it was full of poverty.

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We'll either of them fixed that, is the question?

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Donald Trump and others play on the fears of people who society have

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left behind. He talked about immigration and he talks about other

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issues and tries to blame are the poverty that has been imposed, the

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economic policies he would support. Let us go to our second question,

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from a company director. Do you believe that paramilitaries

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organisations have a role in a local community groups. This will be

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relating to the Charter organisation that has been linked to loyalist

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paramilitaries, they got ?2 million of social investment funding to help

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promote 300 jobs. A DUP spokesperson said Phil checks had been carried

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out and a robust business case made. Martin McGuinness has said it is

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cheap point-scoring to talk about the links between money like that

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going to groups who have links to paramilitaries but surely people

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have a right to know where their money is going and it should not be

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going to people with paramilitary links? Should paramilitary groups be

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connected with community groups? We should not have paramilitaries

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groups on our streets. They should remove the infrastructure from our

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communities and allow communities to develop. If there are individuals of

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the laws paramilitary organisations who want to contribute to the

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community they can do so out with the structures of the paramilitary

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organisations. As regards the question and idea specific group I

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understand that as Assembly Member sitting on the board of directors,

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business people sitting on the board of directors, members of statutory

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agencies sitting on the board of directors, former political

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prisoners sitting on the board of directors. Former political

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prisoners are a reality of our life and many of them have come out of

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prison, gone back into their communities, and contributed

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significantly to the community well-being and peace building that

:15:35.:15:37.

has gone on in Irish society so because somebody is an ex-political

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prisoner I am not going to label them with another label. But

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publicly sever all links. People have information that there is

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public money going to paramilitary groups they should bring that

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information. The Chief Constable said there is a schizophrenia alone,

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there are people who are community leaders by day, but at night they

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where a parallel to the barge or carry something on the lapel. He is

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not pointing fingers at anybody in particular. He is pointing out there

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is a big problem. It is time for a line in the sand. It is time for

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sanctions. It is 22 years since the ceasefire. Why on earth are

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paramilitary organisation still in existence? I know that the

:16:25.:16:28.

individuals who properly then, a lot of them are still around. We cannot

:16:29.:16:32.

expect them all to pop the clogs over the last couple of decades.

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They had down the years demonstrated huge energy and commitment in the

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most awful week, illegal week, killing, maiming, destroying our

:16:41.:16:45.

economy, but some of them still have energy and commitment, and I think

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as politicians it is a duty to try and encourage them to use that

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energy positively for the benefit of the community, and where they do

:16:52.:16:56.

that, for example in my constituency in Strangford, I will help them if

:16:57.:17:00.

they are genuine. But if they are trying to use that energy in a

:17:01.:17:04.

negative way, in terms of controlling the communities... Do

:17:05.:17:10.

you see evidence of that? Do you know people who are community

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leaders by day and paramilitaries by night? I know people who are using

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that energy to control communities negatively underlined their back

:17:20.:17:23.

pockets. There is also the image of drying pitch is damaging our

:17:24.:17:26.

international reputation. The people who do that need to be told there is

:17:27.:17:31.

a line and the sand and you are just about to cross it and there must be

:17:32.:17:35.

sanctions. That is what has been missing for the last 22 years.

:17:36.:17:38.

Sanctions for those who will not play the game. Arlene Foster threes

:17:39.:17:44.

of differently, she talked about a fork in the road, she wants to take

:17:45.:17:49.

people out of society if they are paramilitaries, but also offer

:17:50.:17:52.

people the chance to change. But surely that fought in the road

:17:53.:17:57.

should have come a long time ago? Without question but the truth is we

:17:58.:18:02.

were still, and still do today, have people who are wedded to

:18:03.:18:05.

paramilitary organisations. Regrettably some are still

:18:06.:18:08.

benefiting incredibly well from crime, from destroying their local

:18:09.:18:14.

community. The basis on which the First Minister was talking about was

:18:15.:18:18.

the fresh start Agreement. For those who want to play a constructive

:18:19.:18:23.

role, for those who have an ambition to raise aspiration in the local

:18:24.:18:27.

community where previously there has been none, there will be a path open

:18:28.:18:29.

to them. We have this Charter NI, the man at the top

:18:30.:18:48.

is linked to paramilitary organisations. The man you are

:18:49.:18:51.

talking about is playing an important role in our community. He

:18:52.:18:56.

is chief executive of an organisation transforming lives in

:18:57.:19:00.

East Belfast. The answer to the question as, no paramilitary

:19:01.:19:04.

organisation should be involved in Trinity groups. But when you have

:19:05.:19:07.

individuals who are prepared to set aside their past, their history,

:19:08.:19:10.

mistakes that they have made, and want to have a positive contribution

:19:11.:19:16.

to our society, it is incumbent on all political leaders to make sure

:19:17.:19:19.

that that space is therefore there. But that does satisfy ourselves with

:19:20.:19:24.

Republic money is going. The social investment fund is not politicians

:19:25.:19:27.

doubling money to groups, it is stealing groups made up of our local

:19:28.:19:32.

community deciding for themselves, what other challengers, and in this

:19:33.:19:36.

particular case, employment is the genesis of the thrust of the

:19:37.:19:40.

programme. Saw employment opportunities, what we want to

:19:41.:19:43.

create, there is an organisation which is great relationships with

:19:44.:19:46.

statutory agencies, it is renowned for delivering on projects in the

:19:47.:19:50.

past. Despite the criticisms about the social investment fund and the

:19:51.:19:54.

many uses it took to get some of these schemes progress, it was

:19:55.:19:57.

because we were satisfying ourselves about the velocity of the groups,

:19:58.:20:02.

regarding corporate governance and finance. And having gone through

:20:03.:20:09.

cheque after check... Let me take Naomi Long first. Go to the stealing

:20:10.:20:14.

groups. The stealing groups are made up of members of the local

:20:15.:20:20.

communities who were appointed. The prodigal members are there as of

:20:21.:20:25.

right but the other members were appointed by Sinn Fein and the DUP.

:20:26.:20:30.

The management organisations were also appointed by OFMDFM. No other

:20:31.:20:43.

organisation had a gratuity to bid for this money. This money was taken

:20:44.:20:47.

from Department of employment and learning and development who were

:20:48.:20:51.

engaged in deprived communities, engaged in dealing with economic

:20:52.:20:58.

disadvantage, it is crucial, it is taken away from most apparent in

:20:59.:21:01.

that responsibility because they would not simply give it to the

:21:02.:21:06.

people of choice for Sinn Fein and the DUP. That is the history. The

:21:07.:21:13.

Bottom Line in this there is no paramilitary organisations do not

:21:14.:21:18.

have a role in community organisations but there are

:21:19.:21:21.

questions not just report shows but for the police, the Chief Constable

:21:22.:21:26.

is saying that people are community workers by day and paramilitaries by

:21:27.:21:29.

night that it begs the question of why action is not being taken on

:21:30.:21:34.

that. He talks about the need for a pragmatism. I think that is the need

:21:35.:21:37.

for a restoration of confidence in the rule of law. There may well be

:21:38.:21:42.

issues around resource. There may be issues around evidence but the

:21:43.:21:45.

police should be clear that when it comes to them if they are saying

:21:46.:21:49.

that people are breaking the law they should be actively pursuing

:21:50.:21:53.

them for that. And ensuring that communities are protectors because

:21:54.:21:56.

the reality on the ground is that these are not people simply with a

:21:57.:22:01.

past, a number of these individuals are paramilitaries in the present.

:22:02.:22:06.

And that is not acceptable. We need to get away from that. I am not

:22:07.:22:10.

making allegations but individual organisations. I will tell you why.

:22:11.:22:15.

There are good people who work in those organisations who deserve

:22:16.:22:20.

credit for what they deliver. But we had to ask questions. We have to

:22:21.:22:25.

ask. Do you know what? Of course they should have the money if the

:22:26.:22:29.

bid for it against other organisations in our fair and open

:22:30.:22:32.

competition, not because they cause the up to the political

:22:33.:22:37.

establishment. Give us a list of groups that you believe... This has

:22:38.:22:48.

gone on over many years. It is now up to the political parties... I am

:22:49.:22:55.

happy to give an example. When Stephen Farry was the Minister for

:22:56.:22:58.

employment and learning he was approached by the First Minister and

:22:59.:23:04.

Deputy first bluster and was offered ?7 million for a project to deal

:23:05.:23:07.

with educational attainment with young people. In Loyalist

:23:08.:23:13.

backgrounds. In Loyalist backgrounds. The money had to go to

:23:14.:23:19.

Charter NI, not an open competition, but to that one organisation. He

:23:20.:23:24.

declined that offer and said that he would run a proper process that any

:23:25.:23:27.

organisation with the right to dental is good practice at as part

:23:28.:23:31.

of that Charter NI got a small amount of funding as did other

:23:32.:23:36.

organisations. I object to due process not being followed and I

:23:37.:23:39.

object to people getting preferential treatment. Naomi Long

:23:40.:23:47.

is right, of course people with a past should be involved in the

:23:48.:23:50.

future. I worked with people with that past every single day. Of

:23:51.:23:54.

course they should have a future but that does not mean that you continue

:23:55.:23:57.

to be an active member of a paramilitary organisation. It does

:23:58.:24:02.

not mean that we can continue to feed young people with drugs and bit

:24:03.:24:05.

and forced them into situations where they end up taking their own

:24:06.:24:08.

lives. That is what is happening in our communities. So is the chief

:24:09.:24:13.

Consul's pragmatism just a copout? There comes a time when society very

:24:14.:24:18.

hard to see put your guns down, put your drugs away, you are not part of

:24:19.:24:22.

our society and we will not play due to be part of our society. It is not

:24:23.:24:26.

good enough. I will not make accusations of individuals. There

:24:27.:24:30.

are plenty of them. You do not think there is a fine line to be drawn as

:24:31.:24:34.

people move from one might to another, he one should they be

:24:35.:24:38.

allowed? I think they have had enough time. We should not throw a

:24:39.:24:42.

good public money after bad. There are fantastic organisations working

:24:43.:24:47.

across our communities, many of them are involved with and are led by

:24:48.:24:50.

people who used to be involved in paramilitary organisations. They

:24:51.:24:53.

give it up. The decided that I can to do was to move forward. There are

:24:54.:24:57.

some people who are still involved and are bragging about it and I

:24:58.:24:59.

getting public money. That leads to stop. It should not be acceptable in

:25:00.:25:05.

2016. Gentleman in the second row. Regardless of all that.

:25:06.:25:08.

Paramilitaries well and still do have quite a sweet on communities

:25:09.:25:11.

within Northern Ireland. What I am asking is how can we get them to act

:25:12.:25:16.

positively? How can we get them to stop acting negatively? How can you

:25:17.:25:22.

push them to start acting positively? So they can work with

:25:23.:25:28.

the community? How can we ever justify giving ?1.7 million to any

:25:29.:25:33.

of these groups and at time of austerity when our public services

:25:34.:25:36.

are being absolutely decimated? There are mental health day centres

:25:37.:25:40.

closing down, nursing homes closing down, we have heard during the week

:25:41.:25:44.

that children in special needs schools are being deprived classroom

:25:45.:25:48.

assistants because of lack of funding. This made me wonder what

:25:49.:25:55.

are the society's priorities. Who do you persuade, force, people who are

:25:56.:26:02.

still involved in to give it up? They have the choice. The either

:26:03.:26:09.

abides by what we abide by as peaceful and democratic law abiding

:26:10.:26:12.

citizens or they do not and they do not it is a matter for George

:26:13.:26:16.

Hamilton and the police service. It does inject positivity. You would

:26:17.:26:20.

think money was going to paramilitary organisations. It is

:26:21.:26:23.

not, it is going to deliver the agencies and our community who are

:26:24.:26:25.

succeeding in what they do. The first process was for a Dr 's

:26:26.:26:31.

surgery which sits on the perimeter of short Strand, used by residents

:26:32.:26:38.

of the Newton Road and the Short Strand community, so investment in

:26:39.:26:40.

committee health, an important bearing, and I am glad that this

:26:41.:26:46.

programme was able to support it. Next scheme, in the prison community

:26:47.:26:50.

Centre. You will know the area and the issues with bonfires in July.

:26:51.:26:56.

This community has not had investment for 30 years. They got

:26:57.:27:02.

temporary Portakabins 30 years ago and he litters, ground up, a

:27:03.:27:05.

community scheme, they are getting a new building for a group that does

:27:06.:27:08.

not cut ties of paramilitaries but is doing great work in our

:27:09.:27:11.

community. Other thoughts from the audience? Picking up your points in

:27:12.:27:20.

respect of investment, I wonder what the panel thinks of the continued

:27:21.:27:24.

scourge of suicides in our society at a time when mental health funding

:27:25.:27:29.

is being cut short? That is too much off topic in the time that we have.

:27:30.:27:35.

Any other points on that? OK. Let us move on to question three which is

:27:36.:27:42.

from a teacher. I live on the border. He will Brexit affect my

:27:43.:27:47.

life and prospects? That is a very good question. You could be a

:27:48.:27:55.

remain, a denier, whatever, there is so much going on, does anybody know

:27:56.:27:59.

what is really going on? Mike Nesbitt, who will that person's

:28:00.:28:07.

might be affected by Brexit? Nobody knows. Everything is uncertain. 23rd

:28:08.:28:11.

of June has opened an era of uncertainty which will last at least

:28:12.:28:16.

five years, and maybe ten. It depends whether we are going to

:28:17.:28:21.

remain within the single market, within the customs union. These are

:28:22.:28:25.

things that we have not answered. But I can tell you that you and

:28:26.:28:30.

Northern Ireland will be the most affected nation and region of the UK

:28:31.:28:34.

by this decision and yet our executive is the least prepared. The

:28:35.:28:38.

UK Government has a new ministry with a set -- with the Secretary of

:28:39.:28:45.

State for Brexit, Scotland has an advisory panel, even the UUP has an

:28:46.:28:51.

advisory panel, the executive has nothing. When David Davis came over

:28:52.:28:56.

to speak to the executive he had to have two meetings. He had to meet

:28:57.:29:03.

the DUP and Sinn Fein separately. A divided House has no leverage in

:29:04.:29:06.

negotiations and we have to decide what our policy options? From that

:29:07.:29:11.

they have to decide what our priorities are. Crucially we have to

:29:12.:29:15.

figure out whether those priorities complement or clash with the UK's

:29:16.:29:18.

overall priorities because where they clash we have a huge problem.

:29:19.:29:24.

You have lost me already, it is so complicated! You are wanting special

:29:25.:29:30.

treatment in Northern Ireland and the assembly yesterday, but it is

:29:31.:29:34.

really nonsense. Why should Northern Ireland have special treatment?

:29:35.:29:36.

It is not nonsense. I live on the border too, on a city surrounded on

:29:37.:29:41.

three sides by the border. I think we'll remember how those of us who

:29:42.:29:51.

voted to remain on the -- felt on the morning of the 24th. People in

:29:52.:29:57.

our city were devastated, because we understood the real detrimental

:29:58.:29:59.

effect this would have on all others. Anyone who tries to tally

:30:00.:30:02.

there are real great opportunities from Brexit, they are not telling

:30:03.:30:05.

you the truth. We are facing a very, very difficult economic time and a

:30:06.:30:10.

very difficult political time as well ahead.

:30:11.:30:12.

But you can't deny that there may be some opportunities?

:30:13.:30:16.

But I don't know what they are. Well, we had the Northern Ireland

:30:17.:30:19.

Food And Drink Association saying that while there were certainly

:30:20.:30:23.

problems for the food industry, there could be opportunities for

:30:24.:30:25.

exports to England, because you would not have the problems of the

:30:26.:30:28.

euro or the single market. The English market right there for the

:30:29.:30:30.

taking. Our job is to make sure we get the

:30:31.:30:34.

best possible result of the people here who are so badly affected by

:30:35.:30:37.

it. I want us to remain as members of the EU. We are still fighting to

:30:38.:30:41.

do that. But that is a lost battle!

:30:42.:30:45.

Just let me finish. At the very least, we need to have access to the

:30:46.:30:50.

single market, we need to have the ability to move around this island

:30:51.:30:53.

and move around the European Union as freely as we need to, because

:30:54.:30:58.

people are telling us, everybody is saying, to reason they said it

:30:59.:31:01.

today, in the letter we eventually got out of the executive, thank you

:31:02.:31:10.

very much for that, by the way - Theresea May is is telling us we're

:31:11.:31:15.

not going to return to the borders of the past. No one is saying about

:31:16.:31:19.

largely look like. Because in my view, this referendum is about

:31:20.:31:24.

immigration, therefore, the British nation will have to control their

:31:25.:31:27.

borders. They should not be allowed to do it on the island of Ireland.

:31:28.:31:30.

If they want to do it, let them do it at airports in Britain. That is

:31:31.:31:34.

where this is going. We need to maintain the freedom of movement and

:31:35.:31:37.

freedom to trade within the European Union.

:31:38.:31:40.

Couple of questions, was there a separate meeting with David Davis?

:31:41.:31:44.

He had four meetings in Northern Ireland, with various ministers.

:31:45.:31:48.

He met with the First Minister, he met with the finance minister, he

:31:49.:31:51.

met with the economy minister, and he met with the agriculture

:31:52.:31:55.

minister. He had four separate meetings.

:31:56.:31:58.

But not one meeting that Sinn Fein and... There was no meeting which

:31:59.:32:04.

involve members of the DUP on Sinn Fein to discuss policy?

:32:05.:32:06.

What the British government did get whenever the opposition parties were

:32:07.:32:11.

running around, chasing their tails, they got an agreed position from the

:32:12.:32:17.

Northern Ireland executive. Are you incapable of reading the

:32:18.:32:21.

letter? Was published. It identifies five areas of concern.

:32:22.:32:28.

No vision. While many were saying we want to

:32:29.:32:32.

see this happen, the UK is leaving the EU, and for as long as you go

:32:33.:32:35.

around saying this disastrous, this is going to be catastrophic, and so

:32:36.:32:40.

on, there are some of us... We said that before the referendum

:32:41.:32:42.

as well. There are some others in politics or

:32:43.:32:45.

want to make sure the Northern Ireland succeed. There are some in

:32:46.:32:48.

politics here, recognising that there are issues in Northern Ireland

:32:49.:32:52.

and issues with our relationship with the Republic, have a job of

:32:53.:32:55.

work to do, and I am pleased that not only are we committed to that,

:32:56.:33:00.

Sinn Fein are committed to that, CBI yesterday, very important statement

:33:01.:33:05.

from them, and the Food And Drinks Association, saying it is not the

:33:06.:33:08.

result they wanted, but here is what we can do for Northern Ireland, so

:33:09.:33:12.

we're saying, small businesses affected by regulation, what did

:33:13.:33:16.

they say yesterday? We would like to have equalisation and harmonisation

:33:17.:33:19.

of regulation that the good of business. Now we have the ability,

:33:20.:33:22.

let's get rid of the regulations and red tape. We had this letter...

:33:23.:33:33.

People in England voted to leave. Happily through positive engagement,

:33:34.:33:39.

the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has said it is not known to

:33:40.:33:40.

happen. You wanted to happen. You seem wish

:33:41.:33:43.

it so. Do you want it to happen?

:33:44.:33:46.

You wanted to happen. You argue for a Brexit. How is it going to work?

:33:47.:33:53.

All right, let's widen the discussion to the other panel

:33:54.:33:58.

members. John O'Dowd, Theresa May has responded to the letter of the

:33:59.:34:01.

First Minister and Deputy First Minister. She has basically said, we

:34:02.:34:04.

feel European, but it is all up for discussion. She wants to encourage

:34:05.:34:10.

low energy prices, structural funds, and not to have a hard border, but

:34:11.:34:14.

no idea how to go about any of it given to put that question to

:34:15.:34:17.

ton-macro too, because I agree with you.

:34:18.:34:20.

It is quite clearly Conservative Cabinet, and Mike has said this, and

:34:21.:34:25.

I want to expand on this point, the Conservative Cabinet do not know

:34:26.:34:27.

what Brexit means. In fact, there is internal feuding

:34:28.:34:32.

considering within the Cabinet, well sourced media reports now suggesting

:34:33.:34:37.

that the Chancellor Mr Hammond is either going to resign or be sacked,

:34:38.:34:44.

because he has identified that the issue around access to the European

:34:45.:34:47.

single market is crucial to the economy of these islands. Your

:34:48.:34:53.

question once know how Brexit will affect them. No one around this

:34:54.:34:58.

panel or anywhere else knows the definite, and that itself can cause

:34:59.:35:02.

an economic shock. But I do know this. Your petrol and diesel costs

:35:03.:35:05.

have risen by ?27 a month. Your home heating costs have risen by almost

:35:06.:35:11.

?60. Anyone who is on family tax credits as a result the rise of is

:35:12.:35:17.

going to lose up to ?140 a year as a result of the rise in inflation. So,

:35:18.:35:21.

thus far, the impact of Brexit is going to be negative, it is going to

:35:22.:35:27.

impact on peoples incomes, peoples outgoings in terms of shopping and

:35:28.:35:30.

their household budgets. So, what are we going to do about Brexit?

:35:31.:35:35.

Well, it is very difficult for the executive to organise a response

:35:36.:35:38.

when those who are monitoring Brexit in the Westminster have not got a

:35:39.:35:41.

clue what is happening, what way this is going, or how it is going.

:35:42.:35:46.

You should be kicking down the door of number ten!

:35:47.:35:50.

Well, walking in on Monday. The first Deputy First Minister...

:35:51.:35:53.

Forcefully! Settle yourself.

:35:54.:36:00.

The first Deputy First Minister, I am meeting him on Monday.

:36:01.:36:06.

The start of the negotiation process with the British government as to

:36:07.:36:11.

how they respond to Brexit. Our position is quite clear, the vote

:36:12.:36:13.

should be respected and we should be allowed to remain within the EU.

:36:14.:36:17.

That should be what is happening as a result, if democracy means

:36:18.:36:20.

anything, and that has to be the outcome of what we're going.

:36:21.:36:24.

Well, it will not happen, will it? I'm not so sure that there isn't a

:36:25.:36:27.

possibility of special treatment in Northern Ireland. We are a special

:36:28.:36:32.

situation here already, in terms of how we are treated, our

:36:33.:36:37.

constitutional arrangements under the Good Friday Agreement. The EU is

:36:38.:36:41.

an incredibly fragile organisation despite the fact that it is

:36:42.:36:45.

enormous, and it can reach accommodation for many oddities

:36:46.:36:50.

around its borders and how it handles things. So the idea they

:36:51.:36:53.

could come up with special arrangements for Northern Ireland is

:36:54.:36:55.

not beyond cup retention. But then Scotland and Wales would

:36:56.:36:58.

want them! England would want them! The reality of the situation is that

:36:59.:37:03.

we are unique in terms of our current position, so to expect that

:37:04.:37:09.

to continue is not unusual. I have to say, in terms of what

:37:10.:37:12.

people know and don't know, there are some things we do know. We know

:37:13.:37:17.

that it took been learned three and a half years to exit the European

:37:18.:37:22.

Union. -- Greenland. And with due respect to them, their only interest

:37:23.:37:28.

is fish. So by comparison, we have a very complex set of negotiations to

:37:29.:37:31.

undertake in two years, so we know that we are up against a ticking

:37:32.:37:37.

clock. We'll soon know, with all due respect, regardless of what Theresa

:37:38.:37:40.

May has written on her knowledge and letter back to the First Minister

:37:41.:37:44.

and Deputy First Minister, we know what her responses. She set up a

:37:45.:37:48.

Brexit Cabinet did not even bother Secretary of State for Northern

:37:49.:37:51.

Ireland on it, so she has as good as told us that the British government

:37:52.:37:54.

will do what they wish to do and we can lump it. Now, I don't think that

:37:55.:37:58.

is a good message to be sending to the of Northern Ireland. It will

:37:59.:38:02.

affect you at the border, particularly, because whether people

:38:03.:38:07.

like it or not, if we are going to have a differentiation in markets,

:38:08.:38:11.

you will have customs controls. That is unavoidable. If you are going to

:38:12.:38:15.

control immigration, you have to have immigration controls. Whether

:38:16.:38:19.

those are hard or soft controls, we do not know, but those controls have

:38:20.:38:22.

to exist. I want to go to the floor here.

:38:23.:38:26.

When food costs rise and we get inflation, we know that banks

:38:27.:38:29.

control inflation by raising interest rates, so you will pay more

:38:30.:38:33.

for your food, and more for your mortgage.

:38:34.:38:35.

The gentleman here. I want to know, does Brexit make it

:38:36.:38:39.

more likely or an unlikely for unemployed people like myself to get

:38:40.:38:42.

a job. That is a good question. Let me go

:38:43.:38:45.

around everyone. The lady asked if that would affect

:38:46.:38:50.

her at the border. It is already affecting us now. Inflation has gone

:38:51.:38:54.

up. It will affect the Good Friday Agreements, with freedom of

:38:55.:38:57.

movement, and does that mean that people with an Irish passport living

:38:58.:39:00.

in the north of Ireland are going to have to show their pass but when

:39:01.:39:03.

they want to go down to Dublin airport to go on holiday, for

:39:04.:39:05.

example. This gentleman in the middle here?

:39:06.:39:10.

My question is directed more at Mike and Gavin, particularly in light of

:39:11.:39:13.

the well made comments that have been made and the need for Northern

:39:14.:39:16.

Ireland to get as good a deal out of this, and I think perhaps more

:39:17.:39:20.

salient Lee, Naomi's point about where the power in this really lies.

:39:21.:39:23.

Why are you ruling out an all Ireland Summit?

:39:24.:39:33.

And the lady at the back here? A few minutes ago, it was asked what

:39:34.:39:37.

the opportunities were for Brexit, and Mr Eastwood replied he did not

:39:38.:39:41.

know. So why on earth should we listen to him on Brexit?

:39:42.:39:44.

I didn't argue for Brexit. That is why I don't know what the

:39:45.:39:49.

opportunities are. In a second.

:39:50.:39:53.

Does Brexit mean that the proposal for a reduction in corporation tax

:39:54.:39:56.

is now dead in the water? Very, very quickly then, and

:39:57.:39:59.

deployment, employment of this young man here.

:40:00.:40:02.

These issues, employment, corporation tax, which are resolved,

:40:03.:40:05.

and we will have to to the bottom of those. The point I want to make is,

:40:06.:40:14.

it you said if we have a special status, England, Wales and Scotland

:40:15.:40:17.

were wanted. That is fair enough. But so will the Czech Republic,

:40:18.:40:21.

Hungary and Romania. Don't think the rest of the EU nations will sit

:40:22.:40:24.

around and think, we will give the UK a better deal and we are giving

:40:25.:40:26.

ourselves. Your party leader has said she will

:40:27.:40:30.

not take part in the all Ireland Forum, as it would lead to

:40:31.:40:34.

grandstanding. Why not? Is that not a very sensible approach, if there

:40:35.:40:38.

is so much confusion? The summit is going to go ahead. It

:40:39.:40:42.

is up to Kenny, whoever he wants to speak to an invite. But the notion

:40:43.:40:50.

we need and Kenny, to engage on our behalf with civic society in

:40:51.:40:53.

Northern Ireland, is a nonsense. We have nothing to gain from attending

:40:54.:40:57.

this, because we are fully engaged in the North-South ministerial

:40:58.:40:59.

council and the British Irish council, both in the DUP and Sinn

:41:00.:41:05.

Fein and the northern Ireland executive. We have nothing to fear.

:41:06.:41:11.

We have got time for this discussion.

:41:12.:41:16.

Why does the minister for agriculture not engage with the

:41:17.:41:17.

Parliament in this? Let's just stop it right there,

:41:18.:41:20.

because we could go on all night, and there are other topics to cover.

:41:21.:41:27.

That go to our fourth from Belfast. My question is for the gentleman

:41:28.:41:35.

from the DUP. My gentleman was killed -- my grandfather was killed

:41:36.:41:39.

in 1871, in the highest meeting, which we walked out on, he says that

:41:40.:41:47.

the buck stops with them and Stormont, so I just want to know why

:41:48.:41:52.

his party leader is refusing to give funds to all victims of the

:41:53.:41:59.

Troubles? OK, this is the case of the legacy inquest, of something

:42:00.:42:07.

like 56 potential inquests involving 90 or so deaths. Michael's

:42:08.:42:11.

grandfather was killed in Bally Murphy in 1971 in two days of

:42:12.:42:18.

shooting by the army. Three days. I do beg pardon. The Secretary of

:42:19.:42:21.

State says the job of the assembly to do it, but Arlene Foster Saturday

:42:22.:42:24.

singers that. Why? It is not that she has set her

:42:25.:42:28.

face against it, she would not allow time for it to be discussed.

:42:29.:42:34.

There are funds a lot of legacy matters.

:42:35.:42:36.

I'm sorry, she has set her face against it. She would not allow

:42:37.:42:39.

it... There is an unresolved issue about

:42:40.:42:41.

national security. But she has set her face against it.

:42:42.:42:45.

Until that is resolved, I suspect there will not be movement on this

:42:46.:42:49.

issue. There is an unresolved issue with national security. The British

:42:50.:42:57.

government have challenged since then. -- challenged Sinn Fein. He

:42:58.:43:05.

says repeatedly that it ends with Arlene Foster.

:43:06.:43:11.

Explain the background. I appreciate you adding that.

:43:12.:43:15.

I assume what you want to do is go through an inquest situation and get

:43:16.:43:18.

answers. And unless the national-security

:43:19.:43:20.

issue is resolved, you will not get the answers from that process. I

:43:21.:43:25.

have met with, I assume, relatives of yours, people involved with the

:43:26.:43:28.

campaign about that massacre, and I did so when I was in Belfast City

:43:29.:43:32.

Council. I know there is pain, and I know there is pain right across

:43:33.:43:36.

society amongst victims, throughout, your community, my community, and

:43:37.:43:39.

the community of Northern Ireland in which we live. Until that is

:43:40.:43:43.

resolved, I don't see there being progress on the issue.

:43:44.:43:47.

But on the specific matter, the whole thing could be cleared up in

:43:48.:43:53.

five years, it is said, these 56 cases, but until it gets started,

:43:54.:43:54.

nothing will be done? Until the British Government 's move

:43:55.:44:04.

on the position they have on national security there will be no

:44:05.:44:09.

answers forthcoming. You could lose years going through the process and

:44:10.:44:11.

should you not get the answers you say get the end of it you will be

:44:12.:44:16.

asking. That is the outstanding impediment to progress. That is one

:44:17.:44:21.

that is going to have to be resolved. The Government is saying

:44:22.:44:26.

it is the responsibility of the Assembly. And if Sinn Fein --... You

:44:27.:44:38.

are the ones raising the objections. On behalf of the families and we are

:44:39.:44:43.

happy to do that. National Security Council used to block access to the

:44:44.:44:48.

truth. Every state will have national security interests and what

:44:49.:44:50.

we have said to the British Government is that there should be

:44:51.:44:55.

independent monitoring of national security issues. When there is a

:44:56.:44:58.

dispute between the body and the British Government you bring in

:44:59.:45:02.

independent bodies to adjudicate on where and how those national

:45:03.:45:06.

security interests are dealt with, or they are set aside. But the issue

:45:07.:45:10.

of funding being released to these families should go ahead because not

:45:11.:45:17.

feel these cases will be around national-security. The Lord Chief

:45:18.:45:23.

Justice said that he would be able to deal with the outstanding cases

:45:24.:45:26.

within five years, the British Government should release the

:45:27.:45:31.

funding and enter into discussions and negotiations about resolving

:45:32.:45:34.

this so-called national security issue. Mike Nesbitt, it said one of

:45:35.:45:41.

the reasons there is reluctance on the Unionist side is because the

:45:42.:45:43.

predominant number of cases are alleging security force killings and

:45:44.:45:49.

therefore it is a rewriting of history and a sense according to

:45:50.:45:54.

some of the DUP, or a new interpretation of history, is that a

:45:55.:45:59.

valid argument? That would not be my concern. From whatever faction of

:46:00.:46:04.

society you came from it is simply wrong and it is unjustifiable to

:46:05.:46:10.

have two weeks for more than 40 years for some process to establish

:46:11.:46:17.

the truth. My difficulty is, we talk about having no hierarchy of

:46:18.:46:22.

victims, that is good, but we have a hierarchy of investigation, so at

:46:23.:46:25.

the moment the victims Commissioner reckons that over 1000 people who

:46:26.:46:30.

have lost loved ones during the Troubles have had nothing because

:46:31.:46:35.

the historical investigation team has been disbanded. All they did was

:46:36.:46:39.

review the file. It was not a new investigation. They just looked at

:46:40.:46:43.

what was held in box files. That goes all the way up to very

:46:44.:46:48.

expensive public inquiries. If you have a hierarchy of investigations

:46:49.:46:52.

you inevitably have a hierarchy of victims and that is our concern.

:46:53.:46:59.

These legacy inquest would establish a hierarchy? Just having different

:47:00.:47:02.

processes means there is a hierarchy. We felt, imperfect as it

:47:03.:47:11.

was, that we should have finished the previous process. Republicans

:47:12.:47:18.

made clear at the Starbuck postdocs that they wanted the option to see

:47:19.:47:26.

two families -- at the Stormont House talks that they wanted the

:47:27.:47:32.

option. We go back to the issue of holding up of funding for legacy

:47:33.:47:39.

requests, cannot be cleared in five years? The Lord Chief Justice has

:47:40.:47:43.

done a good piece of work. I sat in the court during some of the

:47:44.:47:46.

proceedings to figure out how it could be moved forward. He said he

:47:47.:47:50.

can deal with the specific part of the legacy of our past in five years

:47:51.:47:55.

if the money is available. Michael and his family have waited for 44

:47:56.:48:00.

years to even get access to the truth. 46 years. To even get the

:48:01.:48:05.

opportunity to get that beard and a court. That is not good enough. I do

:48:06.:48:09.

not think any of us from whatever side... Do you think linking the

:48:10.:48:16.

legacy inquest to national security disclosure is acceptable? No, any

:48:17.:48:21.

organisation whether paramilitaries or state should be coming forward

:48:22.:48:26.

with the truth, nothing should stand in their way. Society and victims

:48:27.:48:29.

need this. Secretary of State should release this money anyway. He should

:48:30.:48:34.

not be giving Arlene Foster Peter Wanless. That is what has happened.

:48:35.:48:39.

Arlene Foster now has a veto. It has been going on for months. They

:48:40.:48:42.

should take it back on the specific issue to deal with the concerns of

:48:43.:48:46.

the families from Ballymurphy and the other families caught up. Is

:48:47.:48:51.

that a good President? Start taking back bits of devolved power? That is

:48:52.:48:57.

not the issue. Do we hold up a process which we know could get

:48:58.:49:02.

resolution for the families who are beating for inquests on the basis

:49:03.:49:05.

that we are feeling other families? I do not think that there's much of

:49:06.:49:10.

a way to handle an issue that has caused such pain. The legacy

:49:11.:49:14.

inquest, and what the Lord Chief Justice had offered, was a solution,

:49:15.:49:20.

a partial solution, to a political failure to deal with the past in a

:49:21.:49:23.

comprehensive way. What they offered was a time bound cost its proposal

:49:24.:49:29.

that would allow us to deal with this set of inquests. I think it is

:49:30.:49:33.

madness that we do not continue to do that and get these cases dealt

:49:34.:49:38.

with. There will be people, and we have got to be honest about this,

:49:39.:49:41.

who will never know the truth about what happens to their loved ones,

:49:42.:49:48.

who may never even be able to locate there remains, who may never know

:49:49.:49:51.

why those things happened, but that is not a good reason to deny those

:49:52.:49:55.

who could reach the truth the opportunity to get it. Just got a

:49:56.:50:04.

question for Gavin, he did well earlier with the question for

:50:05.:50:09.

Michael, but why is it continually stated that anybody murdered by the

:50:10.:50:14.

British state is not innocent? Can you answer that? What is it you are

:50:15.:50:24.

asking? We are going to move on. Let us move to our fifth question which

:50:25.:50:30.

is from a student from Belfast. With the change in public opinion is time

:50:31.:50:34.

that abortion reform is to Northern Ireland? This is based on the latest

:50:35.:50:41.

opinion poll which shows 72% of people agreed that abortion should

:50:42.:50:46.

be legal if it is the result of sexual crime, 67% thought it should

:50:47.:50:52.

not be a crime, 73% of DUP supporters said it should be allowed

:50:53.:51:00.

if it was a result of rape or incest, 69% of SDLP supporters said

:51:01.:51:03.

it should be allowed if it was a result of rape or incest. As opinion

:51:04.:51:10.

changing? Opinion is changing. Is it time for reform? It is past time for

:51:11.:51:15.

reform and that is why proposals were bought Ford's to try and deal

:51:16.:51:27.

with one aspect, around fatal foetal abnormality. Difficult decisions

:51:28.:51:36.

have to be made by women regardless and they had to make them an short

:51:37.:51:41.

time in order to be able to exercise any kind of control in those

:51:42.:51:43.

difficult situations so the time for reform has come. Fatal foetal

:51:44.:51:51.

abnormality, rape and incest are reasonable grounds to seek an

:51:52.:51:54.

abortion but the law needs to catch up with the reality, women are

:51:55.:51:58.

purchasing online drugs, putting their lives and health at risk, not

:51:59.:52:03.

knowing what they are taking, not doing it with supervision, and

:52:04.:52:07.

putting themselves at risk, and as a society we need to find a response

:52:08.:52:11.

which is compassionate, to deal with the reality. We talk about there

:52:12.:52:15.

being no abortion in Northern Ireland but that is. It is

:52:16.:52:21.

underground orators exported. I want to deal with what these figures

:52:22.:52:28.

indicate. Do you think that you are increasingly out of step with the

:52:29.:52:33.

electorate? 69% of SDLP supporters support abortion efforts as rape or

:52:34.:52:37.

incest. This is a sensitive and difficult issue. It is particularly

:52:38.:52:40.

difficult for the families and the women who are going through it and

:52:41.:52:44.

we should approach at understanding that. I come from a Catholic

:52:45.:52:48.

background. I went to a catholic school. I am not surprised by these

:52:49.:52:53.

figures. I believe that people from my community are discussing this and

:52:54.:52:56.

talking about it and are challenged by it, especially by the hardest of

:52:57.:53:01.

cases. Are you leading the way? What we are doing this we have supported

:53:02.:53:07.

and push for a things to come into place because that is what doctors

:53:08.:53:10.

asked us to do. Doctors asked for a change in the law and you blocked

:53:11.:53:15.

it. We did not. Doctors asked us for a change and guidelines which made

:53:16.:53:21.

it impossible for doctors to do the job. We also have supported the

:53:22.:53:25.

working group which has now reported to the two ministers. We look

:53:26.:53:28.

forward, we are committed to looking at the report and responding to stop

:53:29.:53:37.

what is your own review? The SDLP is a pro-life party, we do not want to

:53:38.:53:40.

see the 96 to seven act coming into Northern Ireland, I do not think

:53:41.:53:43.

there is a popular support from that. If you change the law there

:53:44.:53:51.

can be unintended consequences. Do you support a change in the law? Let

:53:52.:53:56.

me finish. That is why we have to allow the working group to have that

:53:57.:53:59.

report publisher on matters that could then. Our fear of the last

:54:00.:54:05.

time was that a change in the law could be overreaching, it could have

:54:06.:54:09.

led to the extension of the 1967 act. We need to satisfy ourselves

:54:10.:54:15.

that would not. The party has come to this from my compassionate and

:54:16.:54:18.

sensitive position and we will discuss this issue when it comes

:54:19.:54:20.

around. We will not play politics with women or their families but who

:54:21.:54:25.

will stand by the physician that the 9067 act should not come in.

:54:26.:54:32.

Are you out of step with your own support? No, I do not feel that I

:54:33.:54:40.

am. The figures that you are talking about, less than 1000 people. That

:54:41.:54:47.

is a fairly standard pool. Less than 100 people who identified themselves

:54:48.:54:55.

as supporters, there is no way of verifying that. It is important as

:54:56.:55:01.

physical readers we truly engage in this issue and that we are

:55:02.:55:08.

sensitive. Personally I am pro-life. In any circumstance? I have

:55:09.:55:15.

supported exclusion zones outside clinics because I do not think it is

:55:16.:55:19.

appropriate for people who are abused in those situations because

:55:20.:55:26.

it is an incredibly difficult case. But it is right that the working

:55:27.:55:30.

group, and was established not to avoid as has been suggested election

:55:31.:55:36.

considerations, this is something that is sort important it should not

:55:37.:55:41.

be put onto a Justice Bill, it requires proper consideration. We

:55:42.:55:47.

have proper consideration now through the working group. It is

:55:48.:55:50.

reported to the Health Minister and the justice minister. It will then

:55:51.:55:55.

be brought to the executive. Whether it suggests that the should be

:55:56.:55:58.

legislative change or it can be dealt with by guidelines, the first

:55:59.:56:02.

guidelines were struck down. Comments were made. This is an issue

:56:03.:56:10.

that has had a lack of clarity for a considerable number of years and I

:56:11.:56:13.

hope we're now getting to a point where we can engage in what the

:56:14.:56:16.

clarity could be going forward. This debate is not about the extension of

:56:17.:56:20.

the night insisted seven act, that is a diversion. -- the 1967 act. I

:56:21.:56:33.

am not aware... It is characterised as reducing abortion on demand. This

:56:34.:56:38.

debate is about specific circumstances and distressed woman

:56:39.:56:41.

were given promises before the police debate that they would

:56:42.:56:47.

support... That is not true. It is on the record. It is not on the

:56:48.:56:51.

record. It is not true. You can take that up with those who put it on the

:56:52.:56:57.

record. Where given promises that they would deal with specific issues

:56:58.:57:01.

around fatal foetal abnormality. There is also the issue of sex

:57:02.:57:07.

crimes and abuse of women. That is the issue at hand and we do support

:57:08.:57:11.

in those circumstances termination of pregnancy. It is not about the

:57:12.:57:15.

needs of doctors or politicians. It is about the needs of the women

:57:16.:57:20.

involved. Very quickly. I am not surprised by the results and I am

:57:21.:57:23.

not sure it presents a big shift because when I took up a position in

:57:24.:57:29.

favour of changing the law for fatal foetal abnormality and sex crimes it

:57:30.:57:36.

seemed there was a groundswell. I am not going to look you in the eye and

:57:37.:57:40.

say either you must abort or you must go full-term. But as a choice

:57:41.:57:46.

that you had to make and that has to be an informed choice because you

:57:47.:57:48.

are going to live with consequences of that decision. And if you do want

:57:49.:57:56.

to go full-term we do not have hospice support. At the end of the

:57:57.:58:03.

is to do with the women who are pregnant and I think that backstreet

:58:04.:58:10.

abortions, that are still going to happen, do you not think a change in

:58:11.:58:16.

the law will help us? Thank you. There is also a lack of

:58:17.:58:19.

modernisation in Northern Ireland. We are so stuck in the past. Looking

:58:20.:58:23.

at the politics of the past. We do not focus on modern issues including

:58:24.:58:29.

abortion, mental health and gay marriage. At this only moved on and

:58:30.:58:32.

started busting to what people are saying, listen to these surveys, and

:58:33.:58:36.

realise that the majority of people want action taken. What is your

:58:37.:58:48.

view? Make a brief comment. 833 women from Northern Ireland

:58:49.:58:51.

travelled to England for an abortion. There we must leave it for

:58:52.:59:03.

tonight. Thank you to our panel and our audience and to you at home for

:59:04.:59:09.

watching. Good night.

:59:10.:59:16.

A studio audience puts questions to a panel of politicians. With the DUP's Gavin Robinson, Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd, Alliance's Naomi Long, the UUP's Mike Nesbitt and the SDLP's Colum Eastwood. Noel Thompson presents.


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