24/10/2017 Spotlight


Noel Thompson presents as a studio audience put questions on the week's big talking points to a panel of decision makers.

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Hello and welcome to Spotlight Special,


where members of our studio audience put questions


to our panel of politicians on the week's big talking points.


DUP MLA Edwin Poots, a former Health Minister at Stormont.


Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd, a former Education Minister


Also her party's spokesperson on Brexit


is the SDLP's Claire Hanna, MLA for South Belfast.


Steve Aiken is an Ulster Unionist MLA for South Antrim.


And the Alliance Councillor, Nuala McAllister,


And, of course, you at home can take part.


Here's how you can get in touch with your thoughts


You can text your comments throughout the programme to 81771.


Texts will be charged at your standard message rate.


You can also phone us on 030 30 80 55 55.


Standard geographic charges from landlines


You can also email us and tweet your comments to us


And you can follow the programme on Twitter -


Let's get straight in. Our first question is from Adam Walker mad


administrator from Belfast. What will it take to make devolution


work? Well, we were told we had six days to save Stormont before


Westminster makes its actions. Can Stormont be salvaged? What will make


Stormont work? There are three stages to any negotiations. There is


negotiation itself, the agreement and then negotiation. Each of those


is as important as the other as they won't work without the others. We


are now seeking a rumination on the agreements. That will make Stormont


work. All other parties have signed up to it in various ways, the


process we have been involved in. We are signed up to the principle of


power-sharing and equality and a rights -based society. That is now


how we get an Executive that Robert is all areas -- that represents all


aspects of society. We are now down to the mentation. In eight months of


talks on and off, you haven't made any ground? There has been progress,


but there hasn't been sufficient progress or we would be back in the


Executive. At this stage, we are better to get it right than cobbling


together something which may fall apart in a number of weeks or


months. As a non-MLA, what is the view from outside the hill? The view


from outside and from the people of Belfast in particular, because as


Lord Mayor that is why represent and advocate for, they are far ahead of


the politicians. In my job, I get to represent a great city, and people


who want to see Belfast do fantastically well. The MLA 's will


say they want that as well. What we need. Want to work as a confident


government. We need people to act in respect of each other and in respect


of the people of Northern Ireland. They have to get on and compromise


and think of what is best for all of Northern Ireland. Compromise, a


dirty word? Absolutely not. Our party has not been setting red


lines, we are prepared to go to Stormont tomorrow morning and get on


with the is business that needs to be done. There are issues that


people want us to deal with. We would encourage parties to... Would


not change anything that was going on before? It had its difficulties.


But it is working better than having ten months of doing nothing in terms


of dealing with issues. As a consequence of that, there are


issues about health and education that are not being dealt with,


social housing, projects that should be starting in terms of


infrastructure that are not starting. This is ten months of


paralysis brought about by one party is not good for Northern Ireland,


not good for the people of Northern Ireland... Does not take two parties


to cause paralysis? All of the other parties would be willing


participants if we would get rid of these red lines. I will let you come


back on that in a moment. But is that how you see it? Where there is


consensus, the DUP have brought us at this point in terms of their


failure to grasp the two consensus among whom? One party is keeping us


here. It will take political will, and that is what we have heard. One


party Brodeur said, the DUP, and one party is keeping us here, the Sinn


Fein, is that what you mean? Not everybody has the same identity, and


that is a large part in recent years. People have not seen the


value of devolution but if the political will is there, we don't


know what the sticking points are because this ten months negotiation


has happened largely behind closed doors. The fact is, it has to work


because it is the only show in town. Direct rule will not solve any of


our problems and devolution and the institutions of the Good Friday


Agreement, the relationships here, nobody has come up with a better


idea. It has to be made to work. We have overcome bigger challenges with


people putting their own specific goals to one side and focusing on


the common goals. We have done more challenging things than this before


and we have do. Argue part of this consensus that it is the DUP's


fault? No. For the last ten months, we have been going around and around


again. How many times have people heard the same arguments from


politicians, back and forth, it is them and us, we need to do this and


that. In the last ten years, I will Northern Ireland government has


failed. What we are doing is not working. Sinn Fein and the DUP are


as bad as each other. They are not getting anything done. We need to


move on. We are 20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement and we need to


try something else. It is not sustainable. I have no faith


whatsoever that Sinn Fein have any interest in getting the Northern


Ireland government back up and running. The real issue here is we


need to move and try and do something else. That is why we as


the Ulster Unionist Party are pushing strongly and we need to


start thinking about voluntary coalition is because he can't keep


on doing this year in, year out. There is another solution. Please!


We would call on the British government to legislate in


Westminster for the reform of petitions of concern. That would


only come once there was an Assembly. No, because it is in their


entitlement to legislate. There would need to be a point in doing


that. Just to stick to the question. But this is relevant to the


question. It is not in my view at the moment. I will take it back to


John O'Dowd. I want you to come back on the point from both the Unionist


parties that you do not want to come back into the Northern Ireland


government. We see it as a way of amending and building relationships


on this island. It is an integral part of what Sinn Fein believes in.


One thing we haven't tried, and Steve says we have failed in this


last ten or 20 years was at the DUP and others have failed to increment


the Good Friday Agreement. We should now increment that -- implement


that. They are moving further and further away from the Good Friday


Agreement. Any notion of voluntary coalition will exclude Sinn Fein. It


is the largest nationalist party in this part of the Ireland. You will


never exclude that party again. Who said anything about excluding the


nationalist party? When did he say that? It is all about sidelining


Sinn Fein. We need to be talking about voluntary coalition, it needs


to have community support. What is wrong with that? We are the major...


How could you include a scratch -- how could you exclude us? You can't


pick and choose. If we don't have strand one, internal elation ships


in the institutions, and strand to with relationships between North and


South... Let's do the audience. I feel it is still going to fail.


Since the Good Friday Agreement, you have failed. There are schools


closing, people waiting for cancer treatment. What you should do is


strip the model back and look at the Scandinavian model of democracy,


which is viewed as the most successful model. You have failed


and I can't understand why as citizens we are so passive to this.


In any other part of the world, we would be demonstrating. People are


dying. Thank you, sir. People are waiting. We will come to all of


those topics. For union is, we have reached out to Sinn Fein and they


take, take, take. In terms of the Irish anguish, there is no reason


why it should stop us from going forward. You could sort all this


out. In terms of the Irish language, the Good Friday Agreement is clear,


I don't see why there is a hold-up. Sinn Fein can't talk about equality


because the DUP are no longer the majority in the Assembly. These


reasons are no excuse for holding up the Government. Thank you. We no


longer need the legacy parties to negotiate an hour -- on our behalf.


We can have normal democratic politics with normal democratic


hearties. For example, the Northern Ireland Conservatives.


LAUGHTER Didn't win in the yellow tie here.


-- the gentleman in the yellow tie. Everyone says that the DUP has no


red lines. In my opinion, the DUP has a red light, which is no Irish


land which. Give Northern Ireland and Irish land which act and let's


get this show on the road again. Let's get storm and running. This


guy is not going to fall and the bosses will not break down on the


roads if we have an Irish ten two act.


-- and Irish language act. Clearly you have no objection to the


language. Why not have an act and get us on a level footing with


Scotland and Wales. We are relaxed about all of these issues. You are


happy to have an Irish language act? Arlene Foster said they can start


the Assembly straight away and have a form of timescale with dealing


with issues and talks. We could have been dealing with health and cancer


and education, justice and all of these things. The SDLP rejected it.


Sinn Fein rejected it. Let's get on with the job. We will happily do


legislation but it will not be the Irish language act legislation that


has been set aside. That type of legislation would be unacceptable,


expensive and respiratory against many people in Northern Ireland. Why


do you insist on a stand-alone act? Why not have something along the


lines which the DUP are suggesting? I will not start negotiating on air.


Just elucidate the principle. I am seeking the same rights as every


other British citizens in this island. In Wales or Scotland, you


have equal marriage and Lang which rights. I am looking to have


citizens having equal rights as they do across the rest of the islands.


We have do make these institutions sustainable. We have do increment


the principals. -- implement. Interesting that we talk about the


Irish language act. We don't need one. The Irish language act, what do


you want to have in it? Mark Sheen said to me, let's get the act and we


will negotiate what happens in it afterwards. I said to him, what have


you got against the Scottish system, which is a rights -based approach?


We have to have an Irish language act and then negotiate what will be


in it. Nobody knows what they are talking about it behind-the-scenes.


No information has been released. How bad could it be question market


is putting yourself on the same footing as everyone else in the


United Kingdom. It isn't, because we don't know what is in it. To have


our places defined by road signs. Is that how we want Northern Ireland to


be seen going forward? What is wrong with recognising the Irish land


which as it is, what is wrong... ? Don't hide it away. He is talking


about the fact of the order that language is will appear on signs. I


you might like to change the size about? I don't mind what order they


come in. What he is talking about... Some people don't want them at all


in Irish. What they want to do is hide the language away. It is not


using public, but it is OK in Northern Ireland. That is not where


we are at as a society. There significant people using the


language on a daily basis. There are thousands of people being taught


through Irish and there are more every year. The Irish language


should be open, transparent and part of our society. It is a shame that


Sinn Fein have politicised a language. Where should Irish be in


the pantheon? I think we could have an Irish language act as a


stand-alone act but what Steve did say about Sinn Fein not saying what


is in the act until we get it, we actually discussed that on the floor


of the assembly. If we had an assembly. But for us in the Alliance


party it is not an Red Line issue because we don't think public


services should be dwarfed by the red line issues but we think that we


should set aside these until we get into the assembly but have


meaningful and proper respect for discussion and if we do get the


reform with the petition of concern we can easily solve, easily solve


the Irish language act, we can solve marriage equality if we just ensure


we have that respectful debate. The gentleman in the suit. I would like


to ask Edwin if he could explain in explicit terms what it is that the


DUP cannot agree to with Sinn Fein, since he's said that Sinn Fein


demands are the barriers to get the government back. The man in the


back. My folks are in Hong Kong and have Cantonese, Mandarin, are


English to match and outlives all the time. I speak Chinese and French


and English and I'm learning Irish. Doesn't make me less of a person


dart very good point! I don't it make you to negotiate an air but


let's get an idea of the stumbling blocks. One of the red lines with


the Irish language, when you looked at what was being proposed, totally


unacceptable. The issue about signage, non-Irish speakers, whether


it should be right based, and if it is writes space to bend court will


interpret that, cost imposed upon the government as a result and money


stripped away from health and education to be is spent on the


Irish language. It was figured out that it would be 2 million a year


for five years, past ?9 million for the infrastructure. The DUP said


that was fair apparently. The civil service have rubbished those figures


to us. A set of figures have been bought up, and in a ?10 billion


budget eyes and large but the civil service has rubbished them. -- isn't


large but have been rubbished. I certainly haven't heard any civil


servant rubbishing those figures. Will you both publish what are the


sticking points? Feel free to check our website. This is daily reading,


the SDLP website. It is something the SDLP have tried twice to bring


forward. So is cancer waiting times, a rights issue, so our kids making


sure not doing five exams. Those are all right this use and parties pick


issues they know will cleave a long community background, and sectarian


eyes. The point is we don't have do have one or the aria... Are you


prepared to go back on the Executive in the absence of the Irish line


would act? This is not now. Claire hasn't accepted this position. This


is the thing, one will pick an issue and the other will oblige and divide


them and they know that they can't do this... The SDLP for the last


election dart can I do say I don't understand how we can acquit Ulster


Scots to the Irish language. We had domination in this part of the


island and 50 years, not thing believe one thing was done about. I


do understand why it's an issue now. I wasn't born at the time so I can't


fully commented but... Ulster Scots was never, ever put to the


forefront, never legislated on, so why are Sinn Fein and many others


bringing up the Irish language, and Ulster Scots, and it is the typical


tit-for-tat we see in the country. The point is indirect rule... We


won't get an act. APPLAUSE What is your party position? Excuse


me! Lesson! I'm tragic yet the audience involved. -- I'm trying to


get them involved. I think we have wasted a ridiculous the money paying


you all to do nothing over the last ten months. We have been talking


about the budget. APPLAUSE The gentleman over there. Nuala was


right earlier talking about the position of concerns. I would like


to ask John if he would try to resolve those. Gentleman here in the


blue shirt. All I have heard from you is about the St Andrews


agreement will stop John. We haven't heard a single Irish language act.


Section 15, the St Andrews agreement... This is what it says.


I'll read it. Quickly! 20 A:D.. Strategies related to the Irish Lang


Jack and the Ulster Scots baggage. The Executive committee shall adapt


a strategy. We don't have time to read it out. At I shall make it


short. Two sections you keep talking about in the St Andrews act, two


sections, one from the Loris language act, to the Ulster Scots


act, so please stop taking the money that we pay you, get in the assembly


can get rid of your veto and then sits down and discuss the Irish


language act. And the Scots act. We must move on. Lots to get through


tonight. Another question from Banga. What should special status


really mean for Northern Ireland in the context of budget negotiations?


Jeremy, you might be jumping that gun. We don't have a indication of


special status yet. It is talked about certainly, something needs to


be done about the border so special status, John, something Sinn Fein is


keen on so what does that look like from your point of view? We had to


remain in the single European market, and the customs union. Also


in terms of giving the number of European citizens that live in this


part of the world they should also be represented in the European


Parliament and occasional presentation if we get the Executive


running, for the Executive ministers are presented in the various


elements of European structures accessed. Those are the broad thrust


of designated special status. I think it is possible. Basically


ignoring Brexit. I would like to. But you can't. You are right. It


will have a significant detrimental effect on the island economy. Report


after report points to that. We have set forward a proposal which we


believe recognises the Democratic wishes of the people here,


recognises the Good Friday Agreement, recognises our


circumstances and allows us to continue free trade and an economy


across the island of Ireland, and an economy and free movement of people


and trade... So free movement of people and goods and services


throughout the island of Ireland, and therefore into the United


Kingdom. The United Kingdom is an important trading partner with us,


no one wants to turn back on them. That's our proposal. Steve? I think


what we are looking at and what is negotiated in Brussels at the moment


is a tone of special status and what we need is 86% of the trade in goods


and actual staff between the Republic of Ireland and the United


Kingdom, all six 5 million euros of it, staying on this island. And what


we should do is move towards a new Anglo-Irish Treaty that makes it all


a free-trade zone on these islands, and it can be done. Because that


sort of innovative solution we look for, and in case anybody thinks it


is... Said the EU has to give you very special status. But they are


already talking about that. The key issue here is looking at it, you say


they are talking about it, they say they are talking about being


imaginative not just special unique status fully Republic of Ireland in


the free-trade. There are already discussions going on at the moment


in Brussels about how do is you are the 65 billion euros worth of trade


a year continuing, and the key is the agricultural business centre,


and because they were robbing of Ireland, 66 divide percent of the


work public Ireland business sector is in the United Kingdom and if


there are barriers put up and particularly tariffs and


regulations, but if they are barriers put up the entire Irish


agri- business sector is going to collapse and that is in nobody 's


interest. So behind the scenes there are discussions going about the all


Ireland steal. -- deal. That means no hard soft or wet borders. And


that is very doable. APPLAUSE I do agree, and we do believe in


alliance that there is a unique situation for Northern Ireland


because it is central to us, sharing, interdependence, and what


Brexit does is it creates more division, it creates more barriers


and so for my generation in particular, the millennial


generation, I see many in the audience tonight and we grew up in


the post-Good Friday agreement era, the world is more connected, and we


need to ensure that in Northern Ireland we do not go back, we don't


go backwards, meaning that not only for society, our economy, too. We


believe the UK should remain part of the customs union and the unique


situation should be applied to Northern Ireland, and all Ireland


opposed to the agri- food industry, 10% of our career and we need to


protect people across the border every day, or cross the border twice


a day to carry out their business. Lots some people are saying that


stopped before it is and this is what Michel Barnier has been saying


is we need gone grey proposals of how to that could be achieved and


keep everyone safe and secure. We can't get those concrete proposals


if we don't have an executive, if we don't have some sort of unity


speaking... Have you got proposals? We do, we have already put forward


many. We are meeting businesses every single day with community


organisations every single day to ask what they cannot do outside the


European Union and what we can do to ensure that Northern Ireland can.


Doesn't sound like you got concrete proposals. Let me bring in the


audience. I don't think we should shy away from words like special


status, lots of countries outside the EU has special arrangements with


Edgar Manso do countries inside stop -- and so do countries inside. There


needs to be a special status for people in the United Kingdom even if


there is no deal. It is up for negotiation to do that and it is not


go to be catastrophic for Northern Ireland. Edwin me you have set you a


hard against the special status. Why? In terms of the British GB


market, it takes over 60% of Northern Ireland good exports, and


therefore we won't have some sort of Seeboard, between them and the


single market, and so we look and focuses towards the UK market first


and foremost, our most important market. 90% of global growth


recognised by the European Union bree recognised outside the UK. I


want the UK to negotiate those deals with those other countries, to put


Northern Ireland in the frame where we can trade internationally. That


approach ignores the Irish border issue. How does that factor into


your thoughts? To Reza may brought forward bezels and Europe rejected


them. Those proposals were sensible but they were rejected by Europe.


Europe are seeking to be punitive in terms of how they deal with the


United Kingdom because they don't want people to leave it. They need


to respect the people of the United Kingdom. How does that affect the


border? They need to be bad to let the British and Irish government


have their border, they don't want a customs border, Europe needs... You


might not call it special status but it is. Europe needs to respect that.


We have brought forward sensible prizes and I urged them to look


again at them in Europe. I think those proposals were far from


sensible. Special status, I don't care what you call it if people have


set their face against that concept. I want maximum access to Europe as


much as we can get and yes we respect the vote to leave, although


leaving the single market and the customs union wasn't on the ballot


bed and many people were told that they wouldn't have to do that but


the fact, and the businessman who asked the question was assuming we


were getting special status because it is necessary and inevitable, and


there are special status is across Europe for others. It is basically


doubling down. We aren't worried? We will be fine? In a matter of course


we are worried, there are no zombie reposes du Dai here, we are


increasing the chance that we are going to crash out. It is vital that


we fight for it. We use the Good Friday Agreement, double down, we


have double citizenship, we can be European and non-European, and there


are lots of structures across the island, the likes of a border bank


and if we had misused the Good Friday Agreement we would see it as


a solution but it is absolutely vital and as has been said, and as


has been said in Europe do we need to ask for it, we can't let Brexit


wash over us. Arguing about it is not as important as Brexit.


Just one of your points there. The important thing is the transition


period being as long as possible. I think two years is too short. The


closer we get to five years, it will be better for everybody on these


islands to get the best deal possible. Europe at the moment, I


have been in Brussels fairly recently, the UK offered 20 billion,


and the EU wants 60 billion, and the result will be about 40 billion.


Once that prices paid, we will get the next stage. Jeremy, just to come


back, but ... My proposal is simply the goods that originate in the UK


as their country of origin should be Gareth free in the Republic only,


and the goods that originate in the Republic should be tariff free in


the UK. That is a very, very supporting to legislate. It doesn't


get over the practical difficulties which are not insubstantial about


having to track things, but it puts both sides on a reasonably good


level playing field and that is what we need. It would be easy to do.


Thank you. We will move on. The third question comes from a student


from Newcastle. There is a serious lack of provision


in our hospital. How will you fix our problems with waiting lists? We


had these figures showing the worst of every area for our targets,


including waiting lists. The Nuffield Trust said that things like


ageing population, high expectations and better technology and more


procedures are making us like further behind. 30,000 waiting for


admission to hospital, 10,000 per year. I can read out a long list of


statistics will stop our system is not fit for purpose, is it? The


system needs reform and I recognise that from many years ago. Many


parties who but up their hands to support it whenever it was brought


forward then started to object to it when it was being applied. As did


the trade unions and many people in the media. Every time we did


something, you were told it was going to be disastrous when all


other health professionals were saying it was what was needed. You


are right, we do need reform. When I was health minister back in 2013,


the waiting lists have almost doubled since that period of time. I


was getting hugely criticised for waiting lists them. That


demonstrates the problem. I would say that those problems started when


ever Sinn Fein decided that reform is more important than... There have


been reports for 20 years on reforming our Health Service. We


were bringing waiting lists down. As a consequence, waiting lists started


to go the wrong way and they have been going the wrong way ever since.


We have had no minister for months and waiting lists are completely out


of control. We need a Stormont back and we need to deal with these


issues. All of the parties need to come together on health and start


playing politics. I wanted to do something that was criticised for


it. We actually stood back and allowed their health blister to get


on with the job. They need to do their job. Close hospitals and


things like that? Listen to the health fashion was as to the best


way of doing it. Some hospitals might be better at providing chronic


care and others might be better at providing current care. The first


thing I would not do is handed over to the Tories under direct rule.


People run size what direct rule will be doing. If you see what


Jeremy Hunt is doing to the NHS in England, that is the last thing we


want. One statistic today, 64,000 people waiting in Northern Ireland


for a year for an outpatient appointment. That is a quarter of


the people on the waiting list, for more than a year. In England, only


1500 people on a waiting list for more than a year. They have 30 times


the population but only 2% of the numbers that we have on a waiting


list. The Tories attempted to be doing too badly in that sense.


That's fine if you want to hand it over. The fact is, having an


Executive will not be a silver bullet. Walking off from the job


without securing a budget led to those cuts that went in last month


that the role is to staff and worry people. The fact is we have an


unprecedented level of political consensus. In the Assembly in the


dying days, there was an agreement across the parties to take the


politics out of hell. It doesn't need to take health out of politics


altogether, it is not TB will not take -- it does not mean we will not


talk about it. Both of these parties promised last May 1 billion for


health over the next mandate. We were told in the Tory deal that


there is 250 million for transformation there. The plans are


there, we are told the money is there. We just need somebody to


drive it. Can you address the question of why we seem to be worse


at it in England? I don't have figures are covered for Scotland and


Wales. Scotland is slightly worse than us and Wales is a lot worse


than us. It depends on the regions. Regionally, it changes a lot. As an


MMA, I've been reading the report and going through it and talking to


a lot of health care professionals because I don't understand why


Northern Ireland outcomes are so bad. It comes down to one of a lot


of reasons. One of the things we need to do is to stop talking about


it, stop doing reports and get on with it. We need, through


transformation, to set up a delivery mechanism make it happen. Let's


explain what you mean by transformation. If you look at the


report, we need to move our health system and change how we do it.


Luckily enough, we're living longer. But we also have differing health


outcomes which means that what we are going to have to do increasingly


is that to preventative measures and look to early intervention. What we


will have to do is specialise in particular areas. Yes, it may be


difficult but it is not about shutting down buildings and


whatever, it is about key staff. Our staff are completely demoralised.


Our hospital workers are completely dim or lies. They have had their pay


capped. We need to get morale back in the Health Service and we also


need to get on with transformation. That means we need to make... We


have five health trusts. Wider we have 54 a population of 1.8 million?


Why not have another delivery organisation to start getting on


with transformation? It will take five or ten years. A lot of


politicians think there is a magic bullet out there, but there isn't.


It will take a decade to transport health but we need to get started.


The only way we will do that is to have a Northern Ireland Executive up


and running and do it now. Can you improve Health Service where Ralph


before transformation? I think you can. You can get the Executive to


talk about England and Wales and Scotland, that issue. In England,


there are more specialised and local care and they are devolved to local


government so a lot of bureaucracy is taken out of it. We need that


transformation, but it goes hand-in-hand with the Executive.


That does not mean we will not have any more waiting lists, decisions


still need to be made. What we do not have is that centre focused on


where the specialist focus should be. We're not health care


professionals, we do not know best, but the professionals have told us


what is best for people in Northern Ireland and we need to listen to


them. We also need to get off of the not in my back garden, I know that


there are protests about plans taking their whenever it came from


your party as well. We all have our own difficulties with that. We need


to agree that we will not go off into our silos and we will put what


is needed for health first. Go ahead, sir. I have a question for Mr


-- for Mr Edwin Poots. There is currently no health department up


and active in this country because there is no agreement with Sinn Fein


and in that affect you and your party partly responsible for the


current health situation. What is that if not playing politics with


health? The gentleman down the front again. Does the former health


minister not feel guilt regarding nurse's wages? John O'Dowd, we had


figures quoted last week, you need 80 million a year for for five


years, plus as formation. How will that happen? The figures you have


quoted I find interesting. The headline I saw was dying while


waiting for a nebulous. Four the main trusts in England, their Chief


Executive Sir said that they are heading back to 1999 waiting list


scales. What is the common denominator? The Health Service in


England is starved of funding and our Health Service is starved of


funding. I hear the course for a return to the Executive. I have seen


the budget for the next two years and it is frightening, absolutely


frightening. The Executive if it does return will have serious, hard,


difficult decisions to make. Our Health Service, we did promise ?200


million a year and we did deliver that when the Executive was running.


But that will be insufficient to deal with the pressures on our


Health Service and it comes back to this. The Tories are starving our


public services are of funding. And the Executive being back is a good


thing but it will not solve all of the problems. What will direct rule


due to help that? May I remind you, you fought the last election and


note Executive without a rights... Whitey want to bring everything


down... You are them they can manage the big picture? That's all Sinn


Fein have said. I am being honest with people. But are any of those


more important than handing over direct rule? England or Scotland or


Wales have language act and a Health Service was up they have equal


marriage and a Health Service would do not be bought up by this cry you


-- by those who want back into the Executive. The Executive will not be


able to resolve the issues. The last programme for government despite all


of the papers, we tried to negotiate. Why did you rebuff? Did


you think the legislation...? I would like to go back to the comedy


made. I am a paramedic and I people every day, like people lying on the


floor and dying for ten hours -- lying on the floor for ten hours and


dying because they cannot get an ambulance. You work involved in a


closure of a hospital. There was no investment in the Ambulance Service


for top the cuts still came to the Ambulance Service. Do you feel


guilty about any of that? You have got the wrong minister. You were


involved in it as well. I was the minister after that. In terms of the


Ambulance Service and all of these things, the DUP negotiated to get


250 million additional four health. 50 million for reform, more for


health. Could we not do with getting that money? We will only get that


money either through an Executive or through direct rule. We need to get


some movement on that issue and get down the 50 million set aside for


mental health, a massive issue in this country. John believes that


other issues are more reported than health. I have to say that I think


health trumps the issues that John is talking about. We will leave it


there. Thank you. Now to the next question. Penny. If


abortionists are such a controversial issue, why don't we


let the public debate it? It went to the Supreme Court in London today to


try whether the law in Northern Ireland was against human rights.


There are two sides do the argument but the Supreme Court today will


decide why did we needed to go to the court, why couldn't Northern


Ireland have its own view? It is going to the court, and first of all


can I actually just say good luck to Angie and Christie, the women at the


heart of the campaign, it's not easy for them to put themselves through


this but I have such admiration for people. We shipped Sarah away, the


woman with a Peters with a fatal if you. We have said that these women


are not first class citizens and don't have equal rights so what we


have in Northern Ireland parties who do not express comfort to these


people, parties who say that we are for a quality but we won't let our


members have freedom. We support equality when it comes to matters we


believe in but when it comes to the women's fundamental right to choose,


you can go to England and Wales because we don't want to deal with


you here and I don't think that this is a society a fundamental success.


It is ultimately wrong. Ball alliance it is a matter of


conscience, it is right way for a giraffe Socratic party. I believe as


a woman, personally, that the state should not interfere in the right of


the woman to choose and we should respect the woman to choose without


judgment and respect and help her here in Northern Ireland. APPLAUSE


Is abortion part of the rights agenda for Sinn Fein? We aren't


seeking the introduction of the 1967 act by any means but we do supports


searching for places where women's health is at risk, and we do respect


the Supreme Court. The assembly has thus far failed to protect women in


the circumstances with fatal abnormalities. We have criminalise


women for far too long in this regard. You will still do it if you


don't decriminalise abortion. You will still do it if you only provide


for it. All the parties will do it if we do not respect the women has a


right to choose. Canada to clarify, Sinn Fein used to say it was not in


favour of abortion. No, what I said was it is not in favour of the 1967


act. Or extending the act do Northern Ireland. That was the party


position if you years ago. I am not aware of that changing in recent


years that we have always been cleared in the 1967 act should not


be introduced here. It is right for women but as long as they have their


abortions in England. No, in no way are we saying that. Women here


should have the right to seek termination in circumstances of


fatal fatal abnormality and circumstances of rape and sexual


abuse and in circumstances where the woman's health is at risk, or the


woman's life is at risk which is already the case. That is where our


position. That isn't equality and bought a party that pays lip service


to equality it is shameful that you think that this is a quality, it is


not, it is a health care issue. The reason the referendum doesn't solve


it as they say in the south is is because it is complex, it is not a


yes or no answer because the legislation has to be decided and it


is a legislation with people's deeply held beliefs and people's


situation and people from our party we believe in life, we believe that


life needs protection. Speaking personally and I have said this


before we can't ignore and wish away the situation that people like Sarah


Ewart are in and to buy Neary put it down between women's rights and a


baby was right that is not a situation of right Les is right but


a woman trying to do what is best for her baby and personally, this is


a personal opinion, stigmatising her for that decision... Not a party


position. No, it is not complex or fundamentalist, or misogynist do


believe that there is a life there. It isn't convex or women who have to


travel to England and Wales every single day. I accept your views.


Bayard everybodyviews. We are forced to travel for abortion. If we were


going to legislate, that is not the party view. The 1967 act is far


outside of the parameters of most of the places in Europe. That is not


what they are only finding in the south. It is the question of


balancing views. What is your vision as opposed to your party but a


vision? My point is that I am moved by Sarah Ewart's case. But a year


and a half ago when the assembly decided to take soundings, get an


expert report from clinicians who were supporting women, people who


write legislation, looking at the human rights... You chose not to


bring in abortion. It did vote to commission that research was


shamefully that research hasn't been published. What is your position?


What should women be able to do in Northern Ireland, should they have a


abortion in case of fatal abnormality in Northern Ireland? In


cerebral occasionally yes. What about rape and incest? Your party


has tried to act framework for abortion. You approve of it in


Northern Ireland for rape and incest and fatal faecal abnormality. Yes.


Fatal faecal abnormality. Just to let you know, over 100,000


lives have been saved by not extending the abortion act to


Northern Ireland. I would like to ask John do you still believe in


cherishing all the children of the nation equally and I would also like


to say that it was the national Socialist German workers party that


promoted the idea of life unworthy of life. Why must the state be the


arbitrator in this disagreement? If you find the service than the


individual still has the right to avail of that service or not avail


of that service. Who protects the unborn child? Our party position is


a matter of conscience. I am abundantly clear on the sea. I


support abortion in the issues of the fatal foetal abnormality and


crime. And I tell you why. I'm sure some of you have been to places in


West Africa, Sudan, West Africa, where rape is used as a women leg


weapon. -- it is used as a weapon. If one of my children was violated,


one of my four daughters, a jihad to carry a child by rapist, I would


support her donation of that child. 100%. It isn't a straightforward


black and white issue. No matter what you may think will stop there


are many things are many different things and I tell you what if you


ever want to understand it, take yourself to Serbia or to Bosnia and


talk to the women there that have had this issue forced upon them. Why


not let the people of Northern Ireland decide? I would be happy to


do it for them to be honest. Amnesty International is a supporter of this


particular case and they came to the Justice committee of the assembly


and they were questioned on their stance on abortion and believed that


a termination of pregnancy should take place right up to the... Hold


on. The cases being brought by the human rights commission! Date


believed that a abortion could take place at to the point of birth. That


is what is inhuman. It is absolutely wrong... That is not what we are


talking about. That is not what we are talking about. It is murder one


day and not the next. That is an ugly comment and you should simply


not make comments like that. Six to the Supreme Court case. Fatal foetal


abnormality and sexual crime. It is a comment made by Amnesty


International representatives, I believe it is wrong and these


organisations want to use... Address the specific issue, fatal foetal


abnormality. I want them to use these hard cases to open the door.


The government of California signed off on what he believed was tough


legislation on abortion, his biggest regret, he said because it opens the


door to abortion. We will have judges making decisions on our


behalf because people and judicial cool Billy matter activism database


on changes to the recession. There are abortions on the basis taken


carefully in Northern Ireland. Some trusts choose to do it, some trusts


chose not to under the same term will stop we can do many more things


to protect the lives of the unborn. We are proudly people who stand for


unborn children because they have a right to life will stop who stands


for the woman? 8 million children have lost their lives in GB. No time


for any more. A big thank you to the panel for their contributions and


thank you for watching. A big thank you to our panel,


to our studio audience, and, of course,


to you at home for watching. You can continue the debate


online, using #SpotlightNI Our next Spotlight Special


will be on December 5th, so if you'd


like to apply to be in the audience, you can email the programme -


[email protected] - or phone the ticket line


on 0345 300 3080. From the Spotlight Special


team, a very good night. Strictly is inviting you


to a spooky special this week.


A studio audience put questions to a panel of decision makers on the week's big talking points. Noel Thompson presents.

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