03/02/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


03/02/2013

Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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$:/STARTFEED. And on Sunday politics in Northern Ireland, the

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planning Minister defends his controversial Sprucefield ruling

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2425 seconds

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against the DUP's Simon Hamilton. Good morning. Welcome it to Sunday

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Politics in Northern Ireland. Hundreds of jobs gone as Alex

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Attwood insists there will be no John Lewis store at Sprucefield.

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Will the matter be taken out of his hands? Also as MLAs try to clamp

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down on the abuse on social networks sites, will they find the

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internet uncontrollable. With me to talk about that is Joanne Stuart

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and the Belfast Telegraph's Liam Clarke. As the economic decline

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continues, Northern Ireland has waved goodbye to 150 new jobs and a

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�150 million investment. John Lewis has withdrawn spans to build a

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store in sprays they have after the Environment Minister insisted it

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was Belfast or nowhere for the scheme. This has angered his

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colleagues, how has the news gone down with the citizens of Lisburn?

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Are they relieved or cheated? a disgrace. I think in the economic

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climate, especially in the building industry, and it needed a boost.

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is because of Belfast do not want us to have it. I think it would be

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terrible if they go to Dublin and do not stay at here. I think John

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Lewis has shown remarkable endurance and patience about this.

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It has been nine years. To come to Lisburn? If they are thinking about

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taking the trade out of the city centre, they should have stayed

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anyway. In it is out of my price range, but I have a neighbour who

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would go to hell and back for John Lewis. The occurrence state of the

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economy, is it worth while are putting up a new store? Will they

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get much business? There are probably shops that are struggling

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as it is. Does Lisburn need an expensive store? They have been

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talking about it for ages, it is like asking a girl out, if she does

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not make her mind up. Alex Attwood joins me and the D B MLA Simon

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Hamilton. How is red-carding a development on this scale good news

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for Northern Ireland PLC? Basque people in Lisburn, Newtownards,

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Craigavon, were it something of this character were to happen at

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Sprucefield, 20 stores, twice the size of Forest side, the evidence

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is overwhelmingly that it would have serious detrimental impact,

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measured up to 30% on all the town centres and city centres of Greater

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Belfast and beyond. That means consequences in terms of thousands

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of job losses potentially and business closures. That is why,

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when we have a Belfast first policy, but we have built up and the City,

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invested in Titanic, there may even be a City University coming, why

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would we turn on our head the established proper policy for

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retail development? In this case, John Lewis has made it clear it

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wants to come up to Lisburn or Dublin. The Belfast first policy is

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a red herring. You have turned this into Belfast only! You are thumbing

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your nose at this Investment! policy I am adopting is the a

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policy adopted by the Executive. It says that in order to drive the

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economy of Northern Ireland, you need to have a vibrant and bright

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Belfast. That is why all that investment across Heritage, tourism,

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Bart's, the Titanic has come here. A vital and vibrant Belfast as part

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of a strong town and city centre retail policy, in the greater

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Belfast area and beyond, that is the best model. The notion of that

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he's send the message from Peter Robinson by the proposal going

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ahead, that these towns and cities have to sink and swim on their own,

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it is not credible. This is an Executive policy, we might not like

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it, we have to stick to it and get on with it! Sprucefield was

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designated within the regional development strategy as the only

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regional out of town shopping centre Humbert in Northern Ireland

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and Alex Attwood talked about a recession, we cannot afford to lose

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this investment at any time. These are not just any jobs, these are

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some of the best jobs in retail in Britain. John Lewis employees rank

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the company as one of the best he in the UK. Employees become

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shareholders in the company. What if it means displacement of jobs

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and other town and city centres are losing out? This will lead to

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disinvestment. This is not a case of Lisburn losing out and Belfast

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benefiting. This is a case of the - - Northern Ireland losing out. John

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Lewis will re-examine and move forward on plans to go to Dublin

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and that is not good for Northern Ireland. It is taking much needed

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investment away from Northern Ireland and taking it to Dublin.

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That is not good for Belfast, Lisburn are anywhere in Northern

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Ireland. That is not the evidence. The evidence that I gave to the

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planning inquiry is that the impact upon it Belfast would be 15%, the

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impact upon a Lisburn would be 25% of retail, in Craigavon a 35% and

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so on for Newtownards, Newry and other parts of the North. This will

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have an impact. The issue is not John Lewis, it is a scale of

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development at Sprucefield of the 20 shops twice the size of Forest

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side. That would have a big impact. If John Lewis it go to Dublin.

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might go there as well. It might be Dublin and somewhere in the north.

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If they go to Dublin first, they will establish the distribution

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centre there and that will take a huge percentage of jobs there that

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we cannot get back. If it goes to Dublin, then four the period of

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time it that it is there, which is not likely to happen now, they have

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said they are not going to Belfast. If people take the John Lewis trade

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to Dublin, them way the -- when they are there, they will purchase

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other goods and services. That is why we will lose out. This is a

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Belfast decision taken by a Belfast Minister in the interests of your

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home city. Would you and you be different if you had MLAs in Lagan

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Valley? My responsibility... Your party is pretty it's the --

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interested in another development. The DUP has questions to answer.

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They have been on the back foot about their political contact --

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conduct and they want to turn the story around. My job is not to make

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plans based upon the next month to the next year. My job is to give

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advice and the advice has to be what is in the national interest.

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Let us hear what the DUP plans to do about this. The First Minister

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has made it clear he is not happy. He says it is bad news for Northern

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Ireland. He says ministers should encourage investment. He is not

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holding back on what he says. What does he do? He goes back to the

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Executive and tries to call in at the decision, over remit? This has

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been taken out of his hands. He he is the Minister! Changes to the

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Northern Ireland Act have been amended to allow for the First

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Minister and the Deputy First Minister to act jointly to bring

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controversial decisions into the Executive. We are going to have all

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sorts of issues brought back that have been made by your ministers as

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well. That is the point of having shared government. We cannot have

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one Minister moving ahead on one decision. This is an issue of such

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significance to the economy, it is not just about the investment and

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jobs, it is about the impression it gives potential investors, if you

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want to come here and make that investment, you are told by

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government Minister that you are not welcome. Members of the

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Executive may gang up on you! deal with this impression that I

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said this to developers? I know that the system that I inherited

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from the DUP and I know the character of it today were we are

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turning around all the significant applications, were we had in six

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months alone 250 renewable applications sent out. The

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character of planning today compared to 18 months ago has sent

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out a strong message to investors that we will get the decisions made.

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The Michelle O'Neill made a decision and I backed her up at the

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Executive and in writing around the proposed move to Ballykelly. It was

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taken because of ministerial authority. The win he turned down

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an investment and all those jobs, that sends a message to investors

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and it is not a good message. not a pro economy message. Let us

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get a business response. Let us bring in it Joe and Stuart and Liam

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Clarke from the Belfast Telegraph. What is your position on this. Do

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you come down on one side as to whether or not at the development

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should or should not happen? shows the difficulties we have with

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the planning system. The fact it has taken and nine E years and we

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have had a different interpretation of planning policy. The economic

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investment is really important to Northern Ireland. We have had a

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difficult few months were we have been getting the wrong message

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going out across the world and we want to get these high-quality

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businesses coming into Northern Ireland. You also have people who

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say we need to deal with the issue of out of town shopping centres.

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They say it will have a detrimental effect on other places. If you look

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at this decision, 30 years down the line, it is the right decision, but

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in the next six months, it looks like the wrong decision. We need to

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look at how we maximise the investment. Sprucefield is existing

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there. We will not have another harbour creating further problems.

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We will look at how we invigorate the city centres. People are

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looking for different things. We cannot remove the people's choice.

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We have to give them different reasons to go into the city centre.

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This is about looking at how we look at culture and how that can

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help to reinvigorate. I have worked with theatre companies about how

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would you reinvigorate empty retail units. That is on one scale, it is

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not on the scale of 1,500 jobs and millions of pounds worth of

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investment. We have to look at it creatively about how we are

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reinvigorating its city centres. Stopping one development will not

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be to do this. It seems to send a bad image for Northern Ireland if

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we lose it John Lewis. The danger for Alex Attwood, who has speeded

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up planning procedures, he has a danger of going it down in history

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as a man who lost this very significant landmark Investment. It

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will open up interesting issues in the Executive. The DUP seem to have

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done their homework. Or ruling and Minister, that impinges on a system

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which is dear to Sinn Fein. They may have the right to call it in,

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but there is a question if the Sinn Fein would support it. It could

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open up a can of worms? Be it opens up a precedent. If Sinn Fein agreed

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to it and it seems to me that the Executive can take the decision and

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the question will be what lino will see Sinn Fein it take. It is quite

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a political decision. It has quite a way to run. Let me ask you, if

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this decision is called in and comes back to the Executive and if

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the First Minister and Deputy First Minister say they are not happy,

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would you feel the need to resign? I find buys up under pressure all

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the time, it will not turn me away from what it Joanna the just said.

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Whether it is the towns of Greater Belfast or beyond or Belfast city

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centre, we have to protect in in- town retail. The consequences of

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the closure of further businesses, in a situation where in Belfast we

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have 25% of vacancies on Ready, the consequences in my view, there is

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an argument, it is difficult, this is the time and place where we say

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that we stand by our policy, stand by our retailers and we want to

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bring other people, but there are times when a line has to be drawn.

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How would the DUP feel if you get your way and it does not happen in

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Belfast and it goes ahead as breeze filled but then it town centres and

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city centres like Lisburn actually suffer and you lose a jobs?

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threat to town and city centres is not coming from John Lewis, it is

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coming from online retail. That is threatening our city and town

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centres. The point about reinvigorating the centres is not

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helped by turning away potential investors, it is about sprucing

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them up and doing other things that attract people in, not just retail.

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We need to leave it there. In a moment, the challenge of policing

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social networking websites. First a look back at the political week

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with Gareth Gordon. The murder of a Garda officer prompted Gerry Adams

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to issue an apology to victims of the IRA in the Republic. By want to

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apologise to the family and to the other families of other members of

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the state forces. Loyalist like protesters said they would change

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tactics, they will hold white line of pickets and target council

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meetings. The National crime agency will not operate here following

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objections from Sinn Fein and the SDLP and the Justice Minister says

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it is a mistake. It is a get out of jail card for the Crumlin Road

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courthouse by St MLAs. As Ballymena honours Liam Neeson, a Holywood

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star revealed the secret of his success. I have got a work ethic

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that I have got from Ballymena. Gareth Gordon reporting. Is the

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internet the crucible of the freedom of expression or a haven

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for sex offenders, he to groups and social misfits? This week there

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will be two motions calling for increased control about what goes

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on on the internet especially social media websites. The issue of

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the flag protests has brought the issue to the fore. Your party is

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proposing a one of the motions, the other is a cross-party motion. What

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is the issue? What are your concerns? What of the major issues

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is that sectarianism has grown new legs through social media.

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Certainly anyone who uses Facebook or Twitter will see some extreme

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examples of sectarianism and a lot of it seems to go ahead without any

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punishment or been taken aside. It is hard to police. That is the

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fundamental point. It is impossible. In his difficult. In terms of local

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agencies, they do not know how to do with it. A lot of the complaints

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are dealt with under the Communications Act, but what is of

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interest is that in England, Keir Starmer her and the CPS have issued

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guidance and I think we need, not the same guidelines, but guidelines

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that would be sufficient in dealing with the problems that we have,

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particularly with regard to sectarianism. Does the legislation

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not already exist? It is about the effective use of it. That is the

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distinction between the legislation and guidance. I think that the

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Public Prosecutions Service needed to set an example and set out clear

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points that police and others should abide by. I think that this

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it needs to be done urgently but we also need to guard against the

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situation where police will be bald did down by a lot of work with

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regards to the internet. We need to distinguish between the more

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serious and the less serious issues. So on people believe that the lot

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macro has been heavy-handed already. We need to distinguish between what

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is most serious and what is not. In terms of sectarianism, a lot of

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this behaviour on the internet... Can you not just block or on follow

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these people? If you took everything seriously, you would not

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get out of bed in the morning. that is the case, the same should

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apply to town centres are places of work, but we cannot allow this

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precedent to be set on the internet. It is a public place. The this is a

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global issue. This is a problem for politicians. Our MLAs will not sort

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this out, this is a huge global issue. We needed to ensure the

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legislation and guidance and regulations are in place to ensure

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that there are examples -- examples set. Not only in terms of

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sectarianism, there have been examples work young people have

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taken their own lives as a result of cyber bullying. That is a good

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reason why we should be doing some urgent work on this. Thank you. Let

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us here are your thoughts. Do you think we needed to step up and try

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to police the internet? Does it need to be more heavy hand at?

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There has to be more prosecutions, more visibility of people being

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taken it to account about this. What about more education? Media

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literacy is a big thing. People know how to use the technology, but

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do not understand the consequences. You need to know how to behave

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online. There is a fundamental free speech issue at the heart of this

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as well. Yes. It is being policed to affair extent. Two loyalist

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sides were taken down recently. That is continuing. I remember

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there was a man who was barred from social media for harassing people

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who had put websites up in tribute to dead children and he got a

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custodial sentence. There is legislation there. There is

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something in the education thing and perhaps there should be

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warnings on Facebook that you are subject to the law of defamation.

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That would make people fully aware that this is not something you can

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do, like talking to your friends in that their car but. In it is about

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educating friends. It is internet safety day on Tuesday. He does

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about the education of parents. There is a positive side. If you

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live in Japan, where social media was used and helped in that

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