19/05/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers are joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and discuss Conservative UKIP electoral pacts with Conservative MPs.

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looking across the Irish Sea to Cardiff after a weekend of talks on


parading and policing leads to an agreement supporting the PSNI. Join


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2155 seconds


Northern Ireland. The sun finally came out as the Balmoral show made


its debut at the Long Kesh site where big plans were made for one of


our most successful industries. We talk to the Agriculture Minister


Michelle O'Neill. Also a weekend of talks on policing


many of our farmers are truly weatherbeaten. The executive handed


out around five billion pounds in hardship funding to those of farmers


who lost livestock in the snow falls in March. Last week a further


million pounds was made available to help farmers cope with animal food


shortages. Despite this doom and gloom, the agri- food sector has


been outperforming other parts of the economy. A new growth strategy


is to capitalise on that and create a further 15,000 jobs over the next


seven years. The Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill is with me


now. Why do you think our agri- food sector is performing so well?


think that it has been a particularly difficult year over the


last 18 months for the farming community, but despite all of that,


despite the climate, agriculture continued to grow. There is a


growing demand for food, so there is a massive potential market there for


us to exploit. This week we have launched the agri- food strategy.


That is been devised by industry and we look forward to be able to


implement a lot of the recommendations. There are a lot of


big asks in it, it is there a challenging. It is a very big ask.


Is it realistic? Absolutely. We are talking about 15,000 new jobs being


created, 75% growth in the export market. We are targeting the export


market. We want to get into the emerging markets of China, Russia,


the USA... There is so much potential for us. We need to exploit


that to its full potential. sector is worth �5 billion at the


moment. The plan is to push that to 7 billion by 2020. That is 40%


growth in the seven years. Those figures are not to be sniffed at.


Absolutely not, but this report has come from the industry. A lot of


hard work has been put in and I commend the board for the work they


have put in. There are often whenever you talk about the food


supply chain, the farmers are the poor relation. In this case the


unions have been very much involved in the conversation so now there is


recognition that there is only one supply chain and we have to invest


in it if it is to be successful in the future. Certainly for me, one of


the challenging aspects to it is it is calling for 400 million from the


executive. That will leave 1.3 billion in investment for the


industry and that is a big win and will help us drive forward the


agenda. There are things to change in processing, but it is about


skills development, research and development. Do you know where this


investment is going to come from? Can you pinpoint specific sectors,


factories and organisations that can deliver these figures or are we


still at the early stages of it being a fanciful wish list? A lot of


this has looked in the beef sector, dairy sector, and everything from


food processing... Even if you take it from the farming end of things


right through to people who produce the packaging and labels, scientists


and all those things, there is such a range of jobs across the sector.


The other thing is it is not specific to one area, it is right


across the North. I can say it is growth right across the North, not


just targeted in one area. It is an area that is susceptible to the


vagaries of international markets, employment situations and food


safety, which is a critical issue. There is an off a lot that could


potentially go wrong. It would be great if these figures are


delivered, but it is a risky strategy, isn't it? If you even take


horse meat and the scandal surrounding that and the impact that


it had on the local industry, if there is anything positive to come


out of that it is that people are starting to recognise the importance


of supply chains. Tesco have said they will source 100% of their beef


products locally, to me that is a major win. We must be mindful of the


fact that over the last 18 months it has been very challenging economic


times. But the industry has continued to grow. A positive


announcement in terms of the agri- food sector, but the other


announcement of �1 billion put in a fund to help farmers deal with a


crisis in terms of fodder supply. A lot of people who aren't involved


don't understand that conflict. said at the start, we are coming out


of a period of extreme weather between the rain and the snow. There


have been particular challenges because of this. These are


short-term measures, in terms of getting some fodder out to them, is


something we need to sustain them into the future. If we don't have


the farmers now, they won't be able to produce the food in the future.


We will hear from the commentators in just a second. Your reflections,


if you would, after the first Balmoral show at the site of the


former Maze, Long Kesh site? absolutely commend the vision for


moving to that site. The potential there is amazing. The show was very


successful, over 80,000 people visited it and everyone in the


grounds was very positive about what they saw and everything that was on


for families to come along too. no butts? No buts, it was a


fantastic show. Mike Smyth, wearing your economists


hat, what you feel about this notion that the agri- food sector can be


grown to that level in such a short period of time? There are two


observations. Certainly the targets are very ambitious. However, the


analysis of the demand increase we have already seen would indicate


that if it is out there then we could certainly get a fair share of


it. The real problem I have is that we are a very fragmented industry


here. The strategy is aimed at trying to simplify it. Abolish a lot


of institutions that make for a lot of noise, and it is about money and


the way we deal with things here. The road to the target is littered


with strategies like this, so it is very challenging. You wouldn't


disagree with that, the? -- Liam? It should be judged at the next


election if it is made. There will be a reward if it comes off. As the


Minister said, sustainability is becoming an important thing. Since


the horse meat scandal, that has suddenly given us a niche market


higher up the cost chain. We can charge more for our products, and I


know a minister is going to Brazil to meet a major employer. We are now


their European headquarters. You can see that these foundations are being


built on. Let's talk about the political dimension to this other


story, which is bound up in the Maze development. We know it is


controversial, but we have seen something happened there which has


brought people together from all kinds of communities. The minister


says it was a great success from her point of view, does that help with


the other aspects of the development of that site? I think it does. My


personal view is it would have been foolish developing the Maze without


developing the other buildings. It will be a draw for buildings


depending on how we develop them. Presumably you have to tell the


story in a balanced way. If you wanted to be a tourist draw then


there are other things, like the chance of a stadium. We will hear


more from you later in the programme.


Intensive talks between police, politicians and committee leaders


came to an end with a vow of support for the PSNI. The focus was on


reducing tensions between police, Loyalist and republican communities.


We made our expectations clear that we wanted to do what we could to


ease tension and build relationships with communities. We have been


through a particularly difficult few months and we want to do what we can


to get relationships re-established. We want to maintain


clean occasion throughout the summer, and this shows that a series


of principles have been agreed that shows that has actually happened.


have seen how quickly things can spiral out of control, and what I


was impressed with was the sense of collective purpose and integrity


that people in that room had, their will to make it work. Vincent, I


suppose we shouldn't be too surprised that they had all agreed


they should support the rule of law, first of all. You expect


politicians and community representatives to support the


police and the rule of law, and the police are agreed to stress that


this statement comes after some strong criticism of the PSNI. For


example, during the protests earlier this year Republicans accused the


police of being too soft. On the other hand, no-one has accused the


police being too heavy-handed and brutal in their response. The police


say they were caught in the middle, being criticised and attacked while


both sides. Even that backdrop, the police say they are pleased at the


statement which supports them and acceptance for their responsibility


of maintaining the rule of law. They have also agreed to give more


advance notice about how they will police public events. They say they


will provide an explanation as to what they will do and why in the


hope of reducing tensions. police are clearly happy with the


outcomes of the talks. What about the delegates? They aren't all


singing of the same hymn sheet. After the police started talking to


us, we had an orderly queue willing to give us their views. They are


keen to stress to things, Mark. That smack two things. It is about trying


to reduce tensions in areas where there has been criticism of the


police. They stress that this has been a successful initiative. There


were some candid and frank discussions and it wasn't always


pleasant, but the view was it was successful. It was summed up by Sinn


Fein 's. It is a positive move forward. This is about the


relationship between the police and the community and in that


parameter, the weekend has been successful. You are suggesting that


the delegates are happy with the outcome. Will it have any practical


impact in the future? That is the weight issue. -- big issue. It has


cost millions of pounds for the policing of protest since December,


�23 million. They hope that this will reduce tensions on the street.


The big issue is, will it have any impact on the street? I asked


whether these talks have reduced the potential for violence this summer?


There are always people who will not listen to anyone who are intent on


listen to anyone who are intent on listen to anyone who are intent on


disruption with no positive disruption with no positive


disruption with no positive contribution to make to society.


contribution to make to society. contribution to make to society.


That is the case around the world. What is next for the protests?


about trying to do something more strategic, meeting with community


representatives after there has been trouble. They want to keep the


communication going. We have been told there will be talks closer to


home in the weeks ahead and this will be put to the test, because all


those who have signed up to this agreement support the police. I


asked a number of delegates if they will continue to support the police


if they do something they don't like. They said they are entitled to


criticise the police if everything goes wrong, but they say they will


support the police throughout this summer. That will be put to the test


in the weeks ahead. Let's hear the thoughts of Mike's


Mike. When you hear -- Mike Smyth. When you hear about what they have


been discussing, it seems like potentially a significant


development, doesn't it? It is a positive thing. It is important to


get it in perspective. This is a kind of tactical thing. How do we


deal with trouble when it comes up, how do we deal with new parades? I


think it is useful to do that. One of the best agreements was the


police saying they will brief people on their tactics before the events


take place. At the beginning of the flag protest there were some


complaints, and the police didn't really explain what they were going


to do and it might have ended a bit sooner if they did. Good comedic


Asian is always a good thing. Good communication is always a good


thing. They said that they want to avoid the violence of earlier, which


cost �23 million. I have to say that I travel across Europe and the flag


protest, people didn't understand them. All they could see was the


trouble and the violence. They were shaking their heads saying, we


thought you had sorted all this out? It was headlines in continental


Europe for quite some time, doing a lot of damage, not just in terms of


the cost of dealing with it, but the effect on our image. There is a


premium here, a dialogue, trying to improve lines of communication.


is interesting way in which that dialogue might take place, Liam.


They spoke about the number of resolutions that the delegates


agreed to, but one of them is, we recognise the importance of words


and use of respectful language in the coming months. I know that isn't


a binding agreement, but they presumably will have to weigh very


carefully what they say in future. It is good you have this range of


people agreeing about inflammatory language. The ombudsman is involved


as well, they will act as an umpire to some extent. It was a little


disappointing, perhaps, that it will be added into later discussions. At


the end of the marching season we had a letter signed by the Royal


Orders that was a prelude to further disturbances. There was no parades


commission, no. The chairman of the parades commission said he was happy


not to be there because it wasn't about parading, but it would have


been interesting to see if representatives from the Orange


Commission and other orders could have attended. Ewe-mac I think it


may have been -- I think it may have been one of the reasons why it


didn't happen. The message it sent out, the optics, are good. There is


some kind of planning and a process going on. There will be some


difficult months coming up, and I think it is best to prepare as best


we can. We will hear a quick final thoughts from you both before we


finish, but for now thank you very With marching once again making the


headlines, the parades commission chairman dispels rumours that


tensions exist with the police. police do a terrific job given the


issues and complexities and challenges that they have faced over


the couple of months prior. First Minister had a biblical


putdown for assembled critics. Listening to the tribe of


Jeremiahs... There does seem to be a general malaise around the police.


Some don't think it is worth their while to come into the chamber.


Allstate announces hundreds of jobs. The first Balmoral Show at the


guests, Liam Clarke and Mike Smyth. The TV has a bill on special


advisers, which comes up tomorrow. That should be interesting, and we


have some amendments as well. TUV bill has been successful even if


it doesn't pass because Sinn Fein have already enlisted advisers for


answering questions for Sammy Wilson. There is only one Sinn Fein


adviser who will be affected, Paul Kavanagh, who is the only one


working in that capacity. The STL P are trying to amend it so that he


wouldn't be affected. -- STL P. talked to the Minister about agra


food, we talked about jobs and investment, word is that fit in the


broader economic picture? It is all about this issue of how do we reach


our potential. The potential exists in the agri- food strategy, but we


really have to up our game. On the wider economy, one thing that has


been bothering me is that the fiscal relationship with London is now a


constraint on the future development of Northern Ireland. The Scots


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers are joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and discuss Conservative UKIP electoral pacts with Conservative MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Jackie Doyle-Price. As well as all of the weekend's other political news, and debate with the weekly panel of journalists.

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