21/03/2017 Spotlight


A studio audience put questions to opinion-formers. Panellists are Owen Paterson, Joan Burton, Daithi McKay, Jeffrey Donaldson and commentators Brian Feeney and Lesley Riddoch.

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Hello and welcome to Spotlight Special, where our studio audience


put questions to our panel of politicians and commentators on the


week's talking points. None bigger today than the death of Martin


McGuinness at the age of 66. Tributes have paid fulsome praise to


his efforts as a peacemaker, without forgetting his role as an IRA leader


in the Troubles. We are joined by the former Secretary of State Owen


Paterson. Joan Burton, said Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP MP, Lesley


Riddoch who spent her formative years in Northern Ireland but now


plies her trade in Scotland as political writer and commentator.


Brian Feeney and the formal Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay. That's our


panel tonight for the Spotlight Special. And of course you can take


part at home. Here's how you can get in touch on all of tonight's topics.


You can text at the standard rate. You can also phone us. Standard


geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. You can also


e-mail us and tweaked your comments to us. You can follow the programme


at twitter. The details are on your screen now.


Let's get right into the questions. The first one comes from Michael


Taylor, a historian. How should history remember Martin


McGuinness? How should history remember Martin


McGuinness? He passed away in the early hours of this morning at the


age of 66. The airways have been full of tributes to him of various


kinds. Enda Kenny said he was a peacemaker who took the path from


terror to truce. Tony Blair said he was a formidable foe and a


formidable peacemaker. Norman Tebbit said he was a coward who never


atoned for his crimes. This lots and lots of different Let's hear what


our panic panel think. Jeffrey Donaldson, how should history


remember Martin McGuinness? I think it will be a mixed memory.


Today, across Northern Ireland there will be many people with very


different views on Martin McGuinness. Our thoughts are with


the McGuinness family, losing a husband and father is a dramatic


thing for any family. Equally there are families in Northern Ireland who


are missing husbands and fathers and other family members because of the


violent campaign of the IRA. Today will have been a difficult day for


them. I think that history will look at


Martin McGuinness and his role as a senior figure in the Provisional IRA


and asked many questions about that. All of those people, those thousands


of innocent people, did they have to die to get us to where we are today?


I think also, and as a Unionist and someone who served in the security


forces, who lost family, friends, comrades in the Troubles I recognise


the journey Martin McGuinness has been an. That he had a great


influence in bringing the Provisional IRA to the point of


laying down their arms and then being fair -- ending their campaign


of violence and we recognise that role as well. I think there will be


mixed reviews, historically. Your personal thoughts, what will your


final thought be? I worked with Martin McGuinness as ministers


together in the office of Deputy First Minister and I recognised that


he did want to make a positive contribution. That his focus had


shifted from the past to the future, but we can't escape the legacy of


our troubled past. Like many people in Northern Ireland, I had mixed


feelings about today but today's a day to recognise that Martin


McGuinness was a family man, and his family are mourning his loss this


evening. Owen Paterson, you dealt with Martin


McGuinness urged Shadow Secretary of State and Secretary of State. How do


you think history will judge him? You are right. I first came here


three years as the Shadow Secretary of State and Denver two years was


the real Secretary of State, so I met Martin McGuinness on a regular


basis for five years. By the time I had met him he was pursuing his


political ambitions of promoting a united Ireland by entirely


legitimate political means, as a Democrat politician. With using


institutions here to promote his views and his ambition. And being a


conservative and Unionist I didn't believe in his end destination for


the Northern Ireland, but we had an absolutely cordial and constructive


relationship. But, and Jeffrey raised this, I had to remember all


along that he began pursuing those ambitions and those political


ambitions remained with him all his life, by the most appalling, violent


terrorist campaign, which caused many deaths, dreadful destruction


and shocking human misery. I think you have to balance that.


So he obviously was a man of great character and strength, and when he


decided to turn his back on violence and move to his Democratic mode, his


power over his colleagues was obviously very, very strong. He


played an absolutely vital part in moving the republican movement to


adopting peaceful means to promote their aims. But sadly there are many


people watching this programme tonight, and many victims no longer


here, they happily did not have that choice. I think we should remember


them and all those people. And Martin McGuinness? And Martin


McGuinness's own family. I saw interviews with him today,


historical interviews in which he said he felt he had no choice when


he joined the IRA. There was no other way of combating what was


going on, in his view. There would be many people here that


would no far more about the background. Having come into it, at


the time there were Democratic peaceful institutions, you could get


elected as Council here be an MP, you could join a political party,


and there was a political party that wanted to pursue his aims, by


peaceful means. So I never really understood why there was this


campaign of appalling violence which caused such terrible damage and


human misery. As Jeffrey said, it perhaps could have been reached by


peaceful means much earlier. Daithi McKay, can you help Owen Paterson


come to that conclusion? I want to express my condolences to his


family, Bernie and the clan. Today is a very difficult days for them


but I think Martin will be remembered as a peacemaker. He was a


great negotiator, but I think it's real skill set over the last decade


has been in relationships and relationship building. Often, and


Jeffrey referred to it, things in the executive have been rocky at


times, but Martin was a steadying force within the executive and the


Assembly and the institutions that lasted for a whole ten years. That


was a magnificent achievement. Of course, we all come from different


backgrounds and Martin came on a journey, Ian Paisley came on a


journey, the Conservative Party and their policy towards Ireland came on


a journey as well. I don't think Martin should be singled out in the


way he has been today, because he made an enormous contribution to


bedding down the institutions. The real skill set he had was in


relationship building. When you see the tributes that have been made by


the former First Minister David Trimble, by the Reverend David


Latimer, and by the Paisley family, you get a real sense that Martin was


absolutely genuine about making for peace and healing those old wounds.


Some people questioned today if it was a change of head, in other words


a change of tactics or heart, what do you think? A change of heart. But


Martin was always somebody, in terms of the great political debates who


used his head. When difficult decisions had to be made, in terms


of Sinn Fein joining the policing board, even the terms of signing up


to the Good Friday agreement, Martin Laird with his head because he could


see that by making compromises that wasn't necessarily a weakness. That


we could go forward, make compromises and come out in a better


position on the other side. And that has proven to be the case. I think


it is also timely because we are in a difficult position in terms of the


institutions at the moment. There negotiations ongoing and hopefully


this will people cause to reflect on where we have actually come from as


a society and the need to get our heads round the table and make a


deal over the coming days and weeks, because we cannot move back, because


what Martin wanted over the past ten years was to ensure the institutions


worked and delivered fairly. It was suggested Gerry Adams wasn't perhaps


as committed as much as Martin McGuinness, do you think that is a


reasonable comment? There will be a number of comments today on a number


of political points to be made. Only time will tell how the Sinn Fein


negotiating team will approach the present talks. But at the end of the


day, I think today is not a time for political point scoring between the


different parties. I think we can put that off for a few days whilst a


community in Derry is in mourning. You will hear from the age of three


to 13 so you know all about it. What is your view of the legacy of Martin


McGuinness? Well actually I think you're


experiencing it tonight. I'm sitting here as someone who's lived in


Scotland since I was 13 and I'm just astonished by the restraint and care


that you're all taking, actually. People are able to see both sides of


the man's character and his legacy and taking care to pay tribute to


both. That in itself is quite astonishing thing, given the amount


of real damage that's happened. It's probably fairer to say there is a


convention on the day that someone passes away there is restraint. That


restraint may not be there in a few days, I don't know, but I think that


should be pointed out. If you are listening to the tributes that have


come in from all sorts of directions... There was a fairly


straight talking comment from Norman Tebbit, as we would expect, but


obviously his family were so deeply involved. But when you look at the


other remarks from Colin Parry and people like this, with a testament


to the bravery of turning your back on the direction you state your life


and to take your community in a different direction, all of these


things are unexpected. I suppose that's what... I met Martin


McGuinness in the 1990s when I took a posse over from Channel 4. In one


Martin McGuinness and David Ervine how astonishingly unpredictable


those two and both dead. Both were people who were unconventional and


whose being unconventional allowed them to take people to places that


perhaps you would never expect politics could reach. You saw for


example pictures of Martin McGuinness meeting the Queen. What


were the thoughts that would have gone through your head as someone


who was in this? I think we have all seen that little clip played over


and over again, with the Queen audibly saying, I'm still alive.


There's a moment where you cannot believe either side's exchange of


that, the hugeness of what they are involved in. And equally Prince


Charles, being able to overcome the death of his uncle. All of these


things have been admirable, actually, in their different ways.


Martin McGuinness stands in the middle of it all. Brian Feeney,


perhaps you could as a columnist pass some comment on the issue of


restraint on a day like this and also throw some light on where you


think the legacy lies. Well, I think it's too early to talk


about legacy, it's too early to talk in terms of how history will see


him. I should also say I'm not noted for my restraint in columns that I


write. I'd like to put it in a bit of


perspective. The suggestion all the time is someone who is engaged in an


armed struggle or military campaign or resistance or what ever you want


to call it, that is mutually exclusive that that person can only


be either engaged in an armed struggle or can be engaged in


politics. The fact of the matter is the IRA sued for peace on a number


of occasions. As early as 1972 the British government invited a


delegation which included Martin McGuinness to London to discuss


peace terms. The meeting was a disaster, but the sort of thing he


did doesn't automatically mean he wasn't interested in a political


settlement from very early on. There are a number of occasions where


British government has been involved with other organisations, where


they've ultimately dealt with terrorists who became Prime


Minister. For example the Prime Minister of Israel, was a very


successful terrorist in the 1940s and became Prime Minister of Israel,


killed a lot of British soldiers before he moved into politics. So


isn't new to be exclusive. It's not necessarily the case that Martin


McGuinness was blind, violent figure and then at some point had a dancing


conversion and decided to get involved in politics. He would have


considered he was involved in politics throughout the whole


period. The ceasefire in 72 and in 75, ultimately the British


government, the only thing they could do they did, which was to talk


to the IRA, finally, in 1991. Does the British government accept


that the Irish people have a right to self determination? And


negotiations began from that point. Historically, one of the things that


will be to his credit is that he rode two horses at the same time.


John Major today said that he understood sometimes when the IRA


brought promises because it meant that Martin McGuinness had to bring


the hard men with him. For example, something like the Warrington bomb,


John major said, he had to bring people with him who could have


killed him, whereas John Major had problems in the House of Commons


with certain people that they were not going to kill him. Joan Burton,


what do you think is his legacy? I was in O'Connell Street and the


anniversary of 1916, sitting beside Martin McGuinness, and there was an


army, and the cop flew past, and he was busy taking photos of the fly


past the centre his grandkids. By the time I met him consistently at


North-South ministerial meetings, he was tremendously energised by how


far the peace process had changed the north, and sitting in O'Connell


Street, which consisted of the Irish Army, the Irish Guards, the IRA had


many issues with them and killed quite a number of people, and the


children, like people who have been victims here, and their relatives,


on a day like this, of course it is mixed feelings. We remember his


achievements but you also remember, and is somebody who grew up admiring


John Hume, I like to feel that Gerry and John Hume had an influence on


him that made him reach out that that further. We had another


similarity in our backgrounds. Both of our dads were found workers. The


political situation, which was often people who came from all


backgrounds, both of us... We had an enormous interest in people getting


jobs and people getting decent services, and when they were


retired, having pensions available. We had conversations about the


island of Ireland but to his family, my condolences. He was so proud of


them and they were supportive of him, and he always talked about him,


and they were always with him. In that context, with Jim Allister, who


said Martin McGuinness took his secrets to the grade and his


thoughts were with the victims who never reached the age of 66 and who


never had children and grandchildren. It got the point


where he and Gerry Adams were able recognise and meet with people on


the one by one basis, but they were never able to get to the point where


they would look back and say what was the point of this violence?


Politics would have offered... The somebody who was very skilled at


politics and talking to people, would have offered a much better


read. That is why I am saying John Hume and the peace process started


had enormous critics because of what he undertook and people talk about


crossing bridges, journeys, all I can say is, I just hope the message


that goes out to younger people is that the violence is not necessary.


Politics can get you there but of course politics is a hard and


difficult road and the essence of politics is you have days when you


are up and down. Let's good to our audience. The difficulties some of


us have is that Martin McGuinness said he was proud of his IRA past,


and he said that very recently. That is the difficulty for victims and


others looking on. Was he really a true peacemaker for saying that?


There was no doubt he was a proud republican but if he went through it


all again and not had to go through the conflict, he would have chosen


not to go to the conflict and had a settlement in 19691970, there were


opportunities. What I am saying is Martin and many Republicans were


brought up in the circumstances of the environment they lived in and


people from other countries were in the same circumstance they would


have found themselves doing the same thing. I understand absolutely that


there are different views in terms of Martin, but Republicans have


different views of other players than the conflict. I was thinking


today when Margaret Thatcher died, and she was hated, and Martin


McGuinness made the statement then and said, regardless of her views,


celebrating her death is inappropriate. He showed leadership


even though he had every reason to hate Margaret Thatcher and every


reason to hate many people involved in this conflict. He put that one


side for the better outcomes of this community and is part of Ireland. We


are so much about this legacy. It do not want to be bringing anything


lower on this day for the family, but there was never an apology from


Sinn Fein or from Mr McGuinness about any of the murders that were


carried out. There was regretful lost lives. There was never an


apology made to anybody who was murdered by the IRA. I remember


there being a apology to non-competence. But did there have


to be that the true reconciliation to happen, for Martin McGuinness to


reach out in a meaningful way? I think there has to be. One of the


reasons why we have not yet arrived reconciliation in Northern Ireland


is because we have not had the proper acknowledgement is the need


to happen, we have not had people coming forward and saying, it was


wrong. But if they do not believe it was wrong, they will never say it.


So it will be a long time waiting. Let's C. In the day we are in, the


points made by the audience are very valid points. One of the regrets I


have had is time is marching on and there are many victims I have met


and families saying, we would like to know more about the truth, we


would like to know and hear from the people who have that knowledge and


information, we would like to know why, we would like an explanation as


to why we were targeted, why he or she was killed and what was the


value of that, why did that happen? Those are real questions. We will


move towards the reconciliation we want to see in Northern Ireland.


Those answers have to come. I would just say that there are many sides


to people and from Martin McGuinness turned his back on the Troubles and


entered into politics, he was very compassionate, I called him a


peacemaker, in regards to historical institutions of child abuse, he


welcomed us up the Stormont many times, even two weeks before he


revealed he was very seriously ill. He met us and Protestant and


Catholic people. That was something the DUP never did, always refused to


meet victims of child abuse, even up until this day. Just to put the


record straight, I have met the victims of abuse in my own


constituency. I have met those families and victims. We will not


dwell on this because it is a small but important part. You may be met


one or two. Let's move on. Apology necessary, Brian Feeney? He can't


apologise obviously but... There will never be an apology because the


people involved in the IRA consider what they were doing was justifiable


and correct. If you disagree with that, that is the way it is, though


the people do. There has never been an apology from unionists for what


they did for 50 years. They never admit they were responsible. David


Trimble did say Northern Ireland was a courthouse for X. Is that an


apology? -- for Catholics. Out of 50 years of systematic discrimination,


that is a tiny thing to say. Refusing to build houses in case it


increased the vote in places like Dungannon Deri, what can people at


those? There is no apology and nobody asking for it because there


is not one forthcoming. Get real. They did it because they thought


they were doing something that was justifiable. I do not happen to


think it was, the vast majority of people do not think it was, but the


people who volunteered and did those things, they will not say, my life


was a mistake. Let's leave it there and move on. Nicola Sturgeon once a


second referendum for Brexit. Why can't we have a bird of poll --


border poll? The Prime Minister has said now is not the time. MSPs were


debating in Holyrood today and of course Sinn Fein have been saying,


it is time for a voter poll is well. Lesley Riddoch, is the Prime


Minister right? I was in the Scottish Parliament today where they


started of the debate and the risk of sounding picky, it will actually


be the Scottish Parliament needs to decide to enable Nicola Sturgeon to


ask for that. These are not semantic things, this is the not the SNP as a


party wanting this. This is the Scottish Parliament, democratic


institution, deciding to that motion. At the moment, people are


kind of a bit gobsmacked at the speed of events in Scotland and that


is strange because we have been heading for this car crash since


last June. 62% of Scots do not want to leave Europe. All the indications


and opinion polls are it is the same percentage now, perhaps even more.


There has been an attempt to get differentiated deal for Scotland.


That polls suggest most people do not want another referendum. The way


the polls have asked is, do you want one this year? Nobody, including


Nicola Sturgeon above all, once one this year. 48% of people think that


Theresa May's response, where she basically snubbed pretty well all


the devolved parliaments, including the Northern Ireland assembly, that


that was a mistake. So we are in the situation at the moment where people


want to see something better, still can hardly believe that a UK


Government will run roughshod over everybody that disagreed with them


apart from the City of London, Nissan Gibraltar and the island of


Ireland, you would have to hope. So Ireland and Scotland will be very


linked because Scottish people are watching to see what solutions you


come up here because of the border is not an active issue in the future


for Ireland, it would be hard for the UK to say, it will be a complete


no-no for an Scotland. Daithi McKay, the Good Friday


agreement allows for a border poll but the Secretary of State thinks


there will be a different outcome. There is no evidence it would be a


different outcome this time round? The Secretary of State would never


be biased in his analysis, I'm sure! I think they go on elections and


such. There is now a unionist majority within the Assembly so


there is doubt over what a referendum outcome might be. I don't


actually like the term border poll. You mean a national list majority.


Sorry? A nationalist majority. A unionist minority in the assembly.


There's a certain grey area that. I don't like the terminology border


poll. I think it conjures up images of negativity of what the border has


represented many people for many years. I think it should be called


an independence referendum, in the same way it was termed in Scotland


and people should put forward their vision of what independence on this


island would look like. I do certainly get a sense that things


are moving. I've spoken to many prominent unionists, especially from


the farming community, would actually accept a change in the


constitutional status, given what they see down the line, in terms of


a potentially hard border, agricultural goods coming down the


goods ink as well. The Brexit minister in London who clearly


doesn't know what the border will look like. There is a lot of


uncertainty out there about people's economic futures. I think we should


have an independence referendum. I would like to see a united Ireland


and a Republican but I would like to listen to other options. That has


been some discussions about a united Ireland, where you would still have


an assembly in Belfast. That is worth considering and certainly


worth debating, but we need to have the debate. I think Brexit coming


over the horizon, there are a lot of concerned communities along the


border and I think we need to start listening to those communities and


the impact that this is going to have on them. Joan Burton, do you


want a border poll? I don't think it is appropriate at


the moment, but there's no doubt that Brexit is an extraordinary,


historical event and it is going to change things and the island of


Ireland. I suspect it's going to change the United Kingdom


enormously, because frankly when you look at the trade between Ireland


and the UK, it's about 60 billion a year back and forward. We have no


idea as yet what's going to happen over the next two years, in terms of


a settlement. I've met people from farming backgrounds in Ulster. Their


families stay here in north and perhaps using meat factories in the


south. The notion that there would be a hard border, leave the politics


out of it, just from the point of view of people with businesses and


jobs, trying to get on with it, is actually incredibly difficult. I


suppose... What you think about this talk of electronic borders. I think


you called it the Lycra option. The Prime Minister Enda Kenny and her


met a few months ago and they said they wanted it frictionless and


seamless. I said it is the Lycra option, it sounds great... In terms


of the different members of the House of Commons who have been


visiting the Republic, a lot of the people who like Owen are pro-Brexit,


are extremely exuberant about it. They don't see any problems, where


as the rest of us... We're living in the 44th year of our membership of


the European Union. Just let me say this, going back to the previous


discussion about Martin McGuinness' death, when Ireland joined the EU, I


think Owen needs to be clear about this. When the Republic joined the


EU, our relationship with Britain shared for ever and for the


positive, because suddenly, sitting around those tables in Brussels, we


were there as equals to the United Kingdom. So the obsession, if you


like, with England as the old enemy change to being equal countries in a


partnership of a union of quite a lot of countries. Are there problems


with the European Union? Yes, of course there are. But we are going


down a road, and perhaps Owen will enlighten us here tonight... Let's


give him the opportunity. In the island of Ireland and the UK,


between both countries there is about 400,000 jobs involved in,


between the two Islands. You're not sanguine but wildly enthusiastic.


How can you reassure Joan Burton and everyone else in this room who is so


concerned? First of all, I ask answer the


question about border poll. I was conscious as Secretary of State it


was important to call for a border poll if the polls showed there was a


chance for a result promoting a united Ireland. The last poll I saw


was in September, which showed 63% wanting to stay within the United


Kingdom and only 22% wanting Northern Ireland to join a united


Ireland. A lot has changed since then. So I'd say there is no grounds


for calling a border poll. But I entirely agree with everything Joan


said. To have a hard border, as is being painted, as this awful, spooky


vision would be an absolute nonsense. The Common travel area,


through some very difficult times between the Republic and the United


Kingdom, has been a huge success. We will get under it... I want to let


you continue but Brian Feeney says Common travel area talk is waffle.


It's not, it's very real. I will let you elaborate and interject O'Brien.


First of all parties on all sides are clear we want to keep the Common


travel area. Has been a report from both houses saying they wanted to


keep it. When I was here the then Immigration Minister signed an


understanding, upgrading the Common travel area around the whole thing,


which has been an enormous advantage.


On the issue of the border, there are just so many international cases


where modern technology shows you can have different regimes, and


there is one today on the island of Ireland. There are different tax


regimes in Northern Ireland and in Southern Ireland and it's not a


problem. Today 10,500 trucks will go across the border from Ontario to


Detroit and another 5000 across the border at Buffalo. These are what


the Americans happily describe as alien trucks with alien drivers and


alien goods and they hardly bothered to change gear. If you look at the


Russian Finnish border, that's gone down from two days to about half an


hour. If you look at what the Iranians and Pakistanis have done,


about as fraught border as anywhere in the world, that has been the


trial... That is a hard border with soft bits. These are real hard


borders. There is such good now, Joan rightly says Bigfoot between


the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, such huge trade,


there will be a sensible arrangement. As the Taoiseach and


power Prime Minister have said, and all doable with modern technology.


And it happens every day. The TR I system has been going since the


1950s. Something like 3 million... Tens of thousands of border


movements per day. There one and a half million tonnes of goods that go


on trucks to the Republic of Ireland and across again to the United


Kingdom's roads and nobody notices, nobody knows about and it happens.


Let's just enjoy technology and work towards seamless border. Absolutely


right. The gentleman in the front row? Do you think talk of a border


poll or the attitude of the Scottish Nationalists as a distraction? And


the people who were opposed to Brexit, they are in denial. That


reality is the United Kingdom voted to come out. All energy should be


focused on getting the best possible deal. Do you agree? And the


gentleman in a checked shirt? I think personally, I was listening


to Daithi McKay, and he talked about uncertainty. To be honest I think


Sinn Fein and the SNP are trying to capitalise on feelings of


uncertainty at the moment by calling for these polls. I would suggest


wisdom dictates and we should wait to see what the agreement looks like


we can have a poll in the future. And the gentleman in the red tie? I


work and lived in Derry. In the moment in the north-west we've had


lots of issues in relation to infrastructure. The last thing we


need is a physical barrier on the border stopping trade coming in. It


would be a disaster for our economy. The constituency was the second


highest of any council district in the British Isles to vote to remain


in. You have to remember Northern Ireland was against it and it's


going to be an absolute disaster. We are concerned at the moment, the


government is concerned with storm and but we should be concerned with


Brexit. Brian Feeney, have you been reassure? By the Secretary of State?


The British government has no policy on what to do with the border.


Furthermore, it's not up to them to decide. Look, it's not up to them to


decide. There are 27 other countries who will sit round the table and


tell the British what they agree. All the talk... But one of them,


Ireland, is going to be going in, saying we pretty much want what


Northern Ireland once. They will try to have... The phrase


Taoiseach and Theresa May used was as seamless border as possible, not


seamless. They won't have one. There are hundreds of millions of litres


of milk transferred north and south every day, to make yoghurt.


Backwards and forwards. You are going to have two different systems


of tax, or tariffs outside the single market and inside. We are


going to be outside the customs union. There's no point shaking your


head. He says there already are different tax regimes. I'm talking


about tariffs. Yes. The North will be outside the single market. So far


what seems to come from most pro-Brexit Tories is your leaving


the single market and you're also probably leaving the customs union,


maybe with some reservations around financial services and a couple of


other things. But take the situation of the Republic of Ireland and


Northern Ireland and Scotland, and indeed Wales as well. Agriculture


and agricultural exports are of tremendous importance, both in terms


of an farm and jobs in processing. If that is going to revert, if you


are leaving the customs union, as is being suggested, that means that at


the very worst case scenario, and I hope it won't come to this, you're


going to have two comply with World Trade Organisation rules. In that


case the tariffs or the tax is charged on agricultural imports into


another country... This is getting a little complex for the time we have.


Jeffrey Donaldson, you will be behind Owen Paterson all the way on


this of course about what to say to these concerns?


I made unionists but sometimes you have to pinch yourself when the


people talking up the border are the Nationalists not the Unionists. I


find it difficult to square an argument... We don't want one. Why


do you talk it up all the time then question what you are obsessed with


the border. I forgot about the border years ago. Are we supposed to


believe that? In terms of nationalism... You heard


it first on Spotlight Special! LAUGHTER


I voted for independence last June when I hear Nationalists who want


all this power for themselves, wanting to give the power away to


Brussels, then what is nationalism about? What does it stand for in the


modern Europe when Nationalists say we want to give all the power away


to these unelected people in Brussels? I'm Unionists, I believe


in the United Kingdom, and that's where we are going to remain.


APPLAUSE Go-ahead, sir.


Wouldn't it make more sense to put the border in the Irish Sea and have


oil of Ireland together? That was the suggestion of Mervyn King, the


former governor of the Bank of England will stop we can discuss


that. Gentleman in the white shirt? Just to clear up your point on the


border and why we are so obsessed with it. As Brian Feeney said


earlier, Irish people got into these negotiations because we wanted


self-determination. We're now getting dragged out against our


determination. Let me finish. Our concerns with the border, if I had


border goes back up it could wreck the peace process from certain


people's views. From my generation, people who don't want to go back to


that, we don't want to see trouble starting again. Let's unpack that


statement for a moment, unpack the statement we've just heard. They had


border could threaten the peace process. In other words, the guns


and bombs will come out again because certain people can't access


that we have a democratic vote and the vote didn't go the way they


wanted. I don't believe in that, I believe in democracy. If the


decision in 1998, if there was a referendum here... I voted against


and lost the vote and I accepted the Democratic outcome. That's what


democracy means. When you have a vote, the United Kingdom vote on the


boat doesn't go the way you want it, please don't threaten us with guns


and bombs because you don't like the democratic outcome. Scotland also


voted to remain, 62-38. How do you address that problem, that question


of nationalism? We talk about what we could expect


for Brexit. As far as tariffs are concerned, what is the script with


the Tory party? At the moment, we're being told in Scotland that the


powers over agriculture and fisheries will not come back to the


Scottish Parliament because there might be different harassed in


different parts of Britain. It seems like there is one set of abilities


to seek board is not been proportioned when it is Ireland,


now, Brexit or difficult, and when it comes to the rest of the UK, it


is just no can do, so which is it? We want reciprocal free trade with


everybody. I give going to give us agriculture and fisheries? Large


elements of it. It is a completely devolved authority. I did this when


I was dean Defra. The UK and before every council meeting, we had a


meeting with devolved ministers, and the SNP minister always turned up


with a long list of requirements for me to get through, hoping I would


fail, but am pretty well everything, even on last night of 2am when we


had negotiations with Chancellor Merkel and her chancellery, I was


trying to get something for Scotland. It is the future I was


asking you about. There has to be one negotiating country representing


all international bodies, and we will get our full seat back with


Brexit in our ability to negotiate and vote on all world bodies. That


has to be the UK. You cannot answer yes or no, can you? We want


reciprocal free trade. There is a huge deficit. This is very


important. We also must move on. Owen Paterson says that the food


coming across, bottle, into America is alien trade and alien food. The


truth is, I'll write in the UK want to trade with each other but as you


rightly said it is 27 member states will make that decision, but it is


not just coming from the Republic of Ireland into the UK that is the


issue here. There are other countries in the EU that export to


the UK. The United Kingdom is only 60% self sufficient and they are


dependent on EU states and another Owen Paterson says he wants free


trade with everyone, he's making a big mistake because I do not think


the 27 member states will allow that. I will have to move you one.


Thank you, sir. We have just run out of time on that one. If the


power-sharing negotiations fail, is there any alternative to either


direct or another election? We note that this is the last week. Time


runs out next Monday at 4:30pm. But the secretary once again it will


organise by the end of this week so parties have time to go back to the


members and discuss it. Is he a super optimist? Who knows? I would


imagine that with all the difficulty stacking up for the Conservatives,


the last thing they want in addition to the Scottish Nationalist threat


is anything to do with trying to run Northern Ireland directly from


London. That has got to be the last thing that this government wants.


Bescot be huge pressure to try to encourage some sort of weight to


keep the show on the road. I would have thought that from the point of


view of a lot of Scottish people, people are really hoping that


something can be pulled together here. We are right at the quick of


the difficulties now. And it does look like has come to one of these


points again, which everyone feared at the beginning would be total


roadblocks. And yet, up until now, through force of character,


perseverance, all sorts of compromise, you have managed to


overcome that, and I'm sure a lot of people are watching and hoping that


somehow you do not get direct rule back in Northern Ireland because


that is a backward and retrograde direction which in Ireland at least


nobody wants. It is the last of three weeks of negotiations and we


have not even had a plenary session yet. It will not happen. There will


not be a settlement on Monday. The basic position is this assumption is


that if Arlene Foster were to stand aside... If she did, it does not


follow the would be an executive because there is a whole list of


other requirements. You listen to what Sinn Fein say and believe the


or you don't. When Gerry Adams says there will be no return to the


status quo and Michelle O'Neill says that there will have to be a


complete change, not business as usual, that means that they have a


list of demands which have nothing to do with forming an executive. So


there will not be an executive formed next week. So an election or


direct rule? The Secretary of State is required to call an election if


there is nothing after three weeks. But there is a cork is from ten


years ago or so when the Secretary of State was not calling an


election, there was a zombie assembly. How dare you! The


Secretary of State must call an election was the decision but in a


reasonable period. Obviously, the Secretary of State could not say, we


will have an election in the next three weeks because of Easter. No


court will step in and told the Secretary of State, you must have an


election on the 27th of June because the court would decide they would


not interfere in politics. So a reasonable period could last a long


time. I know certainly the British government does not want to have


direct rule and no parties want to go back to direct rule. Jeffrey


Donaldson, you have been making encouraging noises in the last


couple of weeks. Are you as convinced as Brian Feeney that


nothing will happen? I do not share his pessimism but I do recognise


that it would be difficult to achieve this in the next few days,


especially with the events of today. But I do believe that what we have


in front of us, the hill to climb in front of us, is not any higher than


the mountains we have climbed already in Northern Ireland. And we


have come a long way. We are at Stormont, we are working daily,


there have been plenty of bilateral discussions, hard-nosed discussions


about the issues that need to be resolved, and I believe we have made


some progress on those issues. Like the Irish language? Give us a clue.


It remains to be seen whether we will get agreement on and I will not


compromise the integrity of the process but if there is a will,


there is a way. I am convinced that if the people in Northern Ireland


want to see Stormont up and running, they want to see parties delivering


government, and some of the parties who let the government after the


elections last year are now indicating to us that they want to


be back in government, and I think that is a positive development, it


is an indication to what we been hearing is, we do not want to go to


direct rule. Direct rule or an election or compromise? I think


everybody wants to see the compromise being made. One of the


biggest problems is the Secretary of State, and he would not be the first


been that position. In that action they believe him to be a player, not


the referee. He made an extraordinary statement in February


in regards to cases from the past involving British soldiers, and to


do that. That was when he said there was a disproportionate emphasis...


And to undermine legal process is was an extraordinary thing to do.


Then he expects to pull up a chair and chaired talks between all the


parties. But ultimately, you have to get on with the DUP, don't you? He


is a key player because one of the issues is dealing with the past and


issues that have hung around since the conflict. All those things need


to be dealt with. There can be no return to direct rule. Republicans


did come out in major numbers to send a clear message that they


needed to be taken more seriously in the future because we have a


unionist minority here in the north and it cannot be the case that we


return to a direct rule situation. If there is to be a situation where


there is no agreement, there has to be some government involvement in


the running of the North. Joan Burton? Get in the! All I can say is


that anyone who sees the benefit of the Belfast agreement to people


right across the community in Northern Ireland has to say that no


one wants to see a return to direct rule. When you think of all those


young people who have grown up, free to go out at night, free to go where


ever they want. How would direct rule change that? I think it would


be deeply unsettling and unacceptable in particular to the


nationalist community at a time during Brexit. I know Jeffrey has a


case that Brexit will be wonderful but I think Brexit is challenging.


To actually forego an administration working in the north of Ireland to


do its best for the North of Ireland, to do its best for the


island of Ireland, I genuinely think there needs to be a stream within


that Brexit process which actually addresses the island of Ireland and


specifically the issue of Northern Ireland. We kind of mood of the


question a little bit. I am saying I do not want to see direct rule, I


think that would be a disaster. What about an election? That is an


enormous insult to all those people who went out and voted and say, you


have to get out then do it again in another few weeks. Provisions exist


within structures to have an extension. The events of the next


few days will mean that various parties negotiations will be turned


up. People need an extra couple of weeks, perhaps President Trump might


send an envoy to deliver his particular insights, it has happened


before. The EU played a role, the Americans played a role, parties


themselves play the role, we will elbow. Let me bring in a couple of


people. We come to this decision again whenever the national start


talking again about problems, we talk about, going back to the old


days, I do not know why it is that whenever nationalists and


republicans stop feeling they are under some kind of pressure, and


that we should do something above the normal conversation, they always


revert back to this, we might go back to the old days. Why is that? I


really hope that political talks go well but please can somebody make


decisions about our budget? It is really important because people need


to know what is happening. It is time to vote for the Alliance Party


because if you vote for Michelle all Arlene, you will get Theresa May.


Owen Paterson, does Theresa May want direct rule at this particular


juncture in history? Absolutely not. There is absolutely nobody I know in


Parliament now wants to see direct rule. I was in the tearoom yesterday


and people were talking about it, in complete agreement... And perhaps


today something good will come out of it. All those news programmes on


the reruns and those terrible films being shown are just a reminder for


everyone of what Northern Ireland has been through and how far it is,,


and it's got there with some hideously difficult decisions being


made by people like John Major earlier on and followed on by Tony


Blair. You had bipartisan agreement in Westminster and in Dublin and


bipartisan agreement in the United States. So there is massive support


for these institutions. There is honestly nobody in the tearoom who


wants direct rule at all. So I think there's a few days left. I thought


it was four o'clock on Monday afternoon... That's what I said. You


said 4:30pm. I beg your pardon, I'm sorry! The lady at the back is


absolutely spot on. Somebody has got to set a budget. Bills have got to


be paid. I keep in touch with Northern Ireland and I talk to


people here quite a lot and see if I can help in some ways. I can tell


you, there is absolute exasperation with the political class at the


moment, in not getting together and working together... What is the


problem? It's a local politicians. It's not for some Westminster


politician to swan in, it's for the local politicians to sit down. There


have been nine years of effort and misery and hard work on three major


international governments to get things up and running and now there


are days left in which to get the working -- them working again. I


just hope everyone will go back home later, there will be more news


programmes tonight... Just remember what Northern Ireland has been


through and the support internationally to get Northern


Ireland have these institutions. They need to be up and running by


four o'clock, possibly for 30 PM, in the afternoon. The lady at the front


row there. I agree that direct rule is a


retrograde step. But, for example, if we had direct rule for a short


period, somebody might finally ring about efficiency in areas like


health, where we have had successive reports about closing hospitals and


nobody, including the latest minister Michele O'Neil has done


anything about it. Thank you, the gentleman just behind you?


To avoid situations like the one we are in, with the possibility of


eight cross community coalition in the fume future help? -- in the


future help? I think the majority of people do not want direct rule but


whenever they come to a settlement this time, it has to be a definitive


settlement. It can't be yet another answer to yet another crisis.


Charities and community groups across the North are having to let


people go. Every year it seems to be the same. A budget crisis, nothing


can be agreed. This solution has to be definitive. I think it has to


address issues that were agreed in the past, like an Irish language and


Bill of Rights. Everyone the table nodding in agreement. We will leave


the last word on this occasion with our audience. Thank you. Thank you


to our panel, thank you to our studio audience who have been most


enthusiastic and you are home for watching. You can continue to debate


online using the hashtag spotlight NIA. Until next time, a very good


night. -- using #SpotlightNI.


A studio audience put questions to opinion-formers. Panellists are former secretary of state Owen Paterson, former tanaiste Joan Burton, former Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson and commentators Brian Feeney and Lesley Riddoch. Noel Thompson presents.

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