20/01/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Mark Carruthers looks at the political developments of the week and questions policy makers on the key issues.

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Hello and welcome to the Sunday Politics. The first major event of


the Derry - Londonderry UK City of Culture gets under way this evening


with the Sons and Daughters concert. With the Executive promising


investment of �30 million, will the year deliver on the economic and


cultural legacy promised? The Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin


is with me. And presidents and Prime Ministers praise his


leadership, but back home there are fewer plaudits as political


opponents put pressure on the Taoiseach. It did make reckless


promises in advance of the election and they have broken almost every


promise at this stage. People feel somewhat betrayed. And to discuss


this and much more, journalist and commentator Susan McKay and


Economist Neil Gibson. Liverpool's year as European


Capital of Culture earned the city around �800 million in extra income,


half of which came directly from tourism. It's been estimated that


up to one million visitors could visit the north west this City of


Culture year. As the first major concert kicks off this evening,


what can the city expect? And can it deliver? With me is the Culture


Minister Caral Ni Chuilin. Obviously it is a big night tonight


and in some ways the proper launch of this year. Sons and Daughters,


no better way to launch the programme than this evening, and we


hope they can get to Derry with the weather. Now it has started, and


with all the expectation and build up, tonight a lot of people will be


biting their nails but I think it will be great. I think there will


be some negativity along with the excitement and celebration of the


year. When it comes to the marketing, there seemed to have


been a few issues - what role has your department taken? We meet


directly with Derry City Council and the issues have been sorted out.


They have a licence for the city of Culture, taking the operational


day-to-day responsibility including marketing, but negativity, I had


this with the Olympics and the Paralympics last year and look how


that turned out. �30 million from the Executive, about 12 million


from your department, what will we get back? For the north-west has


not received the Investment it should have over the last decade


and we will get investment back. It will increase tourism and leave a


legacy that was not there before. In what way? Will it be jobs? We


didn't get the hotels we expected to be built. There will be jobs,


retail, tourism, arts and crafts and music that were not there


before and that in itself will help people with talent who were not


recognised through the economy. There has been some criticism of


the musical instruments forever child and there needs to be more


than that. What can you offer people as reassurance what they


get? When you look at the figures for Liverpool, �800 million, an


enormous amount of money and visitors say that you still get the


vibe. And you will get that in Derry. It is about introducing


music, arts and culture, and if people have a career in that that


is well and good. I think supporting local artists were there


was not employment before, this is what Derry has to offer. When it


comes to Infrastructure, you said yourself you can't control the


weather obviously, but we didn't get the flights we thought a few


years ago that might be introduced to get people to Derry. If they


come to Belfast up the road, we have discussed the difficulties are


with certain areas and the weather, did the recession scupper things?


No, we are not finished yet. The people of the North are very hardy,


they will get to Derry. We have also root on the hour, every half-


hour, and people will get to Derry not just for this evening but for


the rest of the year. Is it too late to be tweaking some of those


issues on the year it is happening? I'm not aware of any tweaking that


needs to happen. We need to look at the flexibility and make sure the


success of Derry is felt across the north-west. When it comes to some


of the funding, the report after Christmas that the �6.5 million,


some of that will be handed back. That is not a good sign, is it?


It's not, but over �600 million will be spent so it is on target.


When it comes to the concert, it is a big event. I have seen some of


the pictures, it looks very impressive but it is only temporary.


There will be no legacy from the venue. But the venue can be used


elsewhere. That is an important thing. Every space has been opened


up, it has brightened up the city, opened up the city. It is good news.


Let's hear now what our Guests of the Day think. Neil Gibson, you


carried out this report in 2010, half a million extra visitor


nights', for �2 million additional visitor spending, and it is


difficult because we are not at the end of the year yet but how much of


that has come to fruition? It is difficult to say but we are already


seeing significant event planning going ahead. None of the


significant events have not materialised. This is a difficult


time to gather international money, but I am encouraged that the


signature events we were hoping for are still scheduled so we should


still get significant tourist impact and most crucially bring


some people to the City who have never been before. They may be


future residents, future investors, and that is the real potential for


the legacy. That, and bringing people into their own city for the


first time to get involved. The legacy will be the responsibility


not just of experts and politicians, but also the responsibility of the


people of the city. Susan McKay, is it on the radar in Dublin? I think


maybe it has fallen down a little bit on that marketing outside Derry.


I didn't see it listed in a lot of the big UK destination events over


Christmas but it will be an overwhelmingly positive thing for


Derry. I am from Derry, I have a great loyalty to it, and I think


the City is a great venue for international events. People are


always surprised how lovely it is, the Donegal mountains, but one of


the best things about the city of Culture is that it is not just the


big set-piece events which are only going to appeal to a minority of


the population, it is the fact that culture company has gone to great


lengths to make sure kids in disadvantaged areas will get some


benefit. They have got the music, staying, but when they have world-


class performers coming over they are making sure they do some work


with children in primary schools. They are involving talented young


people in Derry with world class people they would not normally be


exposed to. They are making it work for the whole city, not just a


cultural elite. Interesting about the marketing - is it on the radar


in London? In Dublin? It doesn't seem that it is. I think it will be.


There have been challengers for example I spoke to people in Dublin


talking about the flag coming, but not talking about anything else.


People will pick certain things out but we need to know what the


overall package is. Susan has raised this, the people in Derry


know what is coming and they should be involved in the planning, the


benefit. We need to get people from Dublin and London and Belfast.


Belfast people will not travel to Derry and invest.


It is interesting - it is a lot of money to go to one project. But why


not? Why not more than that? It is the whole balance in the economy.


Disadvantaged areas are like people waiting on a bus. In deprived areas,


the bosses don't past at all. Derry is an area where the boss has not


passed at all. With your economist hat on, well people in other areas


look at this and think that is money well spent and miss out on


events in my area this year? what hope they will. What happens


often here is that people disagree about where money... And nothing


occurs. That is one of our major urban centres and people will be


curious to see it. What I have to think is, if I was in the manner,


how might I get visitors to come and see me as well? Let's get


people to come down because most importantly we need new people


coming into the island who might potentially have money in the


future, or may be want to bring their family to. It is always a


game in which some will get, some will not. There will be future


investments that might have a different pattern, but there can't


think why did I not get. Let's celebrate and look for other


opportunities. Susan, the message was that we need to be proactive.


You were in Derry on Friday, did you feel the vibe in the City?


was extremely cold, and as it happens I was talking to young


people in one of the most disadvantaged parts of Derry and


they felt there was nothing in it for them. There is a serious issue


of poverty in Derry, but at least the minister is correct that making


an investment of the kind the end to kitted is making, it is correct


in historic legacy of neglect and that is important. Thank you for


In the Republic, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been praised abroad as a


heavyweight for putting the Republic's bailed-out economy back


on track, but criticised at home as the Taoiseach whose government is


introducing measures that hit the poor and vulnerable. And now the


abortion debate has returned. Here's our Dublin correspondent


Shane Harrison. Kenny house until relatively recently, a relatively


unremarkable political career, been blessed with good fortune. That


continued good luck marked his first year in office, according to


John Downing, a political columnist. The previous government were so


wildly unpopular he had to be popular. He was very lucky in the


timing of his criticism of the Church. The public had just had


enough. For rape and the torture of children were downplayed or managed


to walk hold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, its


standing and its reputation. He was very lucky in the arrival of Queen


Elizabeth II and that whole visit also of Obama. We have the republic


meeting its targets, there has been praised from abroad. By one to


applaud the Irish government under your leadership for making some


very tough decisions to shore up the Irish economy. The Taoiseach


has got the time magazine front cover treatment, and was recently


given a special award for putting the country back on the path to


recovery. But the Dublin correspondent of the newspaper here


is a sceptic. The journalists think Kenny is doing a good job because


the success story has come out of Ireland, and they compare it with


Greece where nothing seems to work. I don't think there austerity


programme is going to work because it hits the poorest people the


hardest. It is true there was little Christmas could chip in the


Budget last month, but the Labour coalition would argue that during


this recession by and large it is those who can afford it who have


taken the biggest hit. How much more can people take in the form of


tax rises and spending cuts? Especially as the seismic game


changer under the banking debt has yet to materialise. The Fina for


leader says it is a different story at home although he has been lauded


abroad. Principally I think the promises have been broken. They did


make reckless promises in advance of the election and have broken


almost every promise at the stage and people feel somewhat betrayed.


They thought it was going to be the dawn of the new year, wonderful


change, none of that has happened. What has happened is the return of


abortion as a political issue. The coalition seemed set on introducing


legislation. The credible threat of suicide seems set to be included as


a grounds for termination. Unlike the Labour Party, many here believe


that could lead to abortion on demand. The party's Meyer


constituency colleague of the Taoiseach opposes a liberal


abortion law. The have to sit down and tease this through and that is


a challenge to us to show leadership in the years of the


economy when we have to make tough decisions, and in relation to this


particular issue that we have to make a tough decision on. How he


deals with both abortion and the economy will determined Kenny's


future. To date, as Taoiseach fate has been fortunate and he will hope


he can remain a looking leader. Obviously the tricky abortion


debate will be difficult given the promise before the election. It was


very foolish and wrong of the Taoiseach to make that promise


before he was elected because we have known for a long time that


successful governments have avoided legislating for abortion when they


were clearly required to do so 20 years ago in the X case. He is


living with the consequences of that. We have since had a European


Court of Human Rights ruling which puts pressure on the government to


regularise the situation and we had an outpouring of public sympathy


late last year in the case of the Indian lady living in Ireland who


died during a pregnancy. What about the 25,000 people who went out,


pro-life campaigners, yesterday? Will that make the politicians more


nervous when they see the strength of feeling? A lot of the anti-


abortion people are willing to go on the streets to demonstrate their


position and they have been given some strong backing by the Catholic


Church, but the polls have shown that the majority of Irish people


are now in favour of some degree of liberalisation of the abortion laws.


Not abortion on demand but in circumstances where for example a


woman has been raped, she is carrying a foetus that is not


viable, a child has been raped and so on. There are these situations,


but they don't want to go out and demonstrate on that. A lot of


people who support a woman's right to choose abortion don't want to go


out on the street and shout about it. They think it is a private


thing for a woman to make her own decision. There has been a


civilised debate within the committee system on this, and I


think most people hope they can introduce the legislation in that


kind of temperate manner without seeing a return to the very nasty


scenes that we saw back in the 1980s. And Neil, in terms of the


economy, do you think he is doing a good job? The Germans think he is


doing a fine job. The tough hand he has been dealt. It is a much better


time across the western world to be in opposition, but Ireland is not


in the same position as the UK. It can't print its own money, it has


to have someone to lend the money, so this is extremely important.


it fair to compare Greece to Ireland? No, Ireland has a much


stronger economy, a higher skills profile, and also as a have seen it


has been able to make changes. Its people have taken some


responsibility for the difficulties they have found themselves in. The


most fundamental difference is Island has a route to future


economic success in a way that is not so easy to see in Greece.


with us. Thank you. There was a bad-tempered return to


Stormont this week after the festive break. Stephen Walker looks


back in 60 seconds. A veteran Ulster Unionist joined the DUP and


said his former party were finished. I think it is politically exhausted.


I don't think it has any new ideas. Alex musky found himself in the


firing line in a war of words about stone-throwing. Traders said profit


was being damaged. Is trouble brewing in the Executive? There


were strong words in the Short Strand. This is an occasion where


we need to be seen to be standing together. Politicians sat round the


table but Peter and Martin would not face the pressed together. The


Secretary of State visited Alliance party offices and the flag issue


was not far away. The want to know when this flag is going to go up in


Belfast? Because it is going back to the 70s, and my childhood was


ruined. So far so good in terms of the violence but the protests are


continuing. What do you may covet? I think it shows a dreadful failure


of leadership within Unionism. I was at the protest yesterday and I


was listening to stuff I have been listening to as a journalist for


decades. This no surrender politics, no compromise, they are getting


everything, we are getting nothing, completely sectarian, abuse being


shouted at the police along sectarian lines, and I think the


Unionist leadership needs to tackle the sectarianism going on and stop


people feeling that... It has got to be made clear that the Executive


has left Northern Ireland with areas of extreme deprivation, but


they are in republican and nationalist parts as well as


loyalist parts. When you have major spokespersons for these protesters


talking about part of the problem being that too many Catholics are


in the police, Unionism has got to speak out against that kind of


thing. It is unacceptable and dangerous. Neil, we have had a lot


about the economy, what real impact is this having? It is devastating


in many ways because it comes at a difficult time for things like the


retail sector at the minute. Whilst not wanting to trivialise the


political and cultural issues, from an economic point of view, for the


business owner and the international investor, violence


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