22/01/2012 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


22/01/2012

Andrew Neil and Tara Mills present. Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna on Labour's plan for the economy and is it time to leave the European Court of Human Rights?


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Sunday politics. George Osborne

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 44 seconds

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wants Britain to play its part to In Northern Ireland bombs in

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 44 seconds

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Londonderry to the shine off the Bombs in Londonderry took the shine

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off the launch of a new tourism strategy so can N I 2012 and the

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Titanic signature project achieve the step-change promised by its

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architects? Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics in Northern Ireland.

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Might studio guests this week our from the Sinn Fein and their

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opponents. In terms of people who have not yet been brought to

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justice over these bombs, we seem to have this time after time

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following big incidents and that throughout the Troubles of the

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police not doing a particularly effective job if you're can

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statistics. You have to ask what the police were trying to achieve

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during the Troubles. They had to hold their line and try to keep the

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lid on things. I have a good deal of sympathy with that. We can

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indeed do better and there is a huge degree of frustration. If you

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study republicanism and there is always what they would call a

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militaristic tendency in it. We should not assume that the

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militaristic wing will ever go away so we do need to focus on that.

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the events of Friday and the press conference that was given yesterday,

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is that uncomfortable viewing for Sinn Fein? I do not think so. I

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think we will leave these matters to the courts. I would not really

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call into question the judgment of the courts and second-guessed them.

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We want to improve our courts and policing and Prison Service. The

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last thing I would say is that I think as we move forward the war is

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over. I think we are moving into a period when the police have become

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entrenched. I would like to think of a time when there is no violence

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even from these micro groups is close at hand. I would not be quite

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so pessimistic about deaths. will discuss that a bit further. --

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pessimistic about the best. -- this. There is a school of thought in

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Government and business that says build it and they will come. There

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it is. The Titanic signature project. Undoubtedly many will come

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particularly in this the one hundredth year of the sinking of

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the Titanic. But will become insufficient numbers to give

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Northern Ireland the boost it needs? This man is the head of the

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tourist board. Surely he is feeling the pressure of expectation?

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think in terms of the regeneration of Belfast and the regeneration of

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Northern Ireland there has never been a better opportunity. Largely

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due to the recession the number of overseas visitors has been falling.

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Figures for 2011 have not yet been published. Between January and

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September over one million people came here, an all-important 343,000

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were on holidays. That was 12 % down than on the previous years.

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The tourist board says 833,000 extra visitors will come here and

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more than 3,500 jobs will be created. This type of project is

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something that will draw people to Belfast. We should not forget that

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deep tourist has anywhere else in Europe to choose from. They will

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only come here if there is something special to visit.

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areas of disadvantage and need and high unemployment are concentrated

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in north and west Belfast. In order for people to benefit from that

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huge public investment we need to have a transport system.

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Titanic Quarter has to be seamlessly connected with the city

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centre. Belfast cannot risk having different quarters across the city

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which do not connect. It is not easy for tourists or local people

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to get around. There are just over 300 people currently working on the

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side but there -- the job is already done. The grand opening

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will be in April. Titanic Foundation predicts that around

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306,000 people each year will visit the building. They need 290,000

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visitors each year to break even. But the poll thought the long-term

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future of the building will be doubtful. We must raise our game

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and be confident about ourselves. The Audit Office report cannot have

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helped. I think it is wrong of any organisation to come out and knock

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a project out before it has even opened its doors. A Rugby player

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once said he did not do doubt, I think it is time for Northern

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Ireland to stop doing doubt. Joining us now is the enterprise

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minister. Let's deal with some of the points raised in the film.

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Jennifer McCann was concerned about infrastructure. I think it is

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important to get the infrastructure right. That is why we are working

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right across Government to make this possible. The Department of

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regional development will be key. Also, in some of our other key

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events this year including the Irish Open. It is very important

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that we work across Government to make sure that everything is in

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place for the tourists when they come to Northern Ireland.

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opening is not that far away. The Titanic launched is even closer.

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Nothing will beat down in time for the actual anniversary. I do not

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know what you mean, it will be in place. In terms of infrastructure.

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We have already invested a huge amount of money in the tourism

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industry across Northern Ireland. You will see us coming together as

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a Government and Executive to take advantage of the local opportunity

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which has been presented to us. What I was seeing in the Assembly

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is that everybody needs to grasp this opportunity and make a

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difference for Northern Ireland in 2012. You think those figures, 12 %

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down last year, will increase this year? Those figures are incorrect.

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I put out a press statement on January fest this year welcoming

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the fact we had increased our figures by 6% over the same period

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as last year, January to September. I am not quite sure where she is

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getting her figures. I know we have increased the number of visitors

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who have come to Northern Ireland and our revenue spend which is up

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in the region of 20%. Were we just not quicker off the mark in terms

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of some of these projects? That is what the Audit Office report has

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said. I beg your pardon? The audit office said they had difficulty

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with the timeline that we had taken, it deficiencies in governance and

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project planning. I was actually very bemused by the Audit Office

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report because some of the things they were seeing do not stand up to

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scrutiny. They say they are concerned in relation to the number

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of visitors we are concerning, it is the same number of visitors that

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the Belfast Zoo gets annually. Blue I cannot see how this project which

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is based on a global brand could not attract the same amount or more

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visitors. In relation to the point made by Jennifer McCann and she

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made it in the Assembly last week as well about the fact this was a

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project situated in the east of the city and how would it impact on the

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rest of the city? When we held a joint jobs via West Belfast City

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Council last October half of the people who registered were from

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west Belfast. I think people are grasping and we just need to get

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all of our politicians to grasp the opportunities that are there as

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well. What sort of jobs are recreating he didn't -- within the

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tourism industry? Should we be looking more at creating

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entrepreneur's who will create new industries? Of course it is both.

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At the moment the tourism industry supports around 40,000 jobs in

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Northern Ireland. We want to see that increase. We believe it can

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increase right across Northern Ireland. When we are talking about

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events such as the Samuel Beckett Festival in Enniskillen, that will

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bring new jobs. There will be a huge amount of interest in the city

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of Culture. We do want more entrepreneur's and innovators but

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we also want more people involved in the tourism industry because

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this is not just about jobs but changing perceptions of Northern

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Ireland. How do you do that when we have things like bombs in

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Londonderry? We cannot be deflected by those who would seek to drag us

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back to the past. I was very pleased with the event we had last

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week to say to Great Britain which is our largest market for tourists,

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that Northern Ireland has changed, it is a confident place and we want

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you to visit us. Look at all of the events and the products we have for

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you. I was pleased with that event and I hope we can build on it to

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bring those tourists back over to Northern Ireland particularly in

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this huge year for us. How do we deal with the dissident threat and

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the impact of their actions in terms of bringing tourists to

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Northern Ireland? I do not think we make it our priority. I think we do

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the job of setting out our tourism stall. I think we should not be

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distracted by the threats. These groups are getting out to try and

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destroy events. I think the Titanic building will be a time -- stunning

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success. If you look at the wonderful book in time art museum -

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- do behind. The local people embrace that. Bilbao now loves that

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art museum. The second thing I think about tourism is how we

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convince people that in Belfast we want 22.4 million overnight

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visitors, we have to convince people that it will improve their

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lives, we will provide jobs which will make an impact. Our tourism

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product cannot just be the Titanic building. We can have a museum in

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Belfast in the Crumlin Road jail. It is all to play for in my view.

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take it you have all of these other projects under consideration but

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you do not have all of your eggs in one basket? One of the strengths

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about tourism is that it is a product that happens right across

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Northern Ireland so whether you are in the Lakes or in County Armagh or

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in the Sperrins you can partake of the beauty which is Northern

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Ireland. I have made it one of my priorities to build up the tourism

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sector right across Northern Ireland and not just in D major

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cities. Of course deeply a huge role in attracting tourists into

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Northern Ireland but when they are here it is important we have things

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right across the country for people to see and do. The point is that

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the Royal Portrush Golf Club is one of the best on Planet Earth. We

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cannot move that to West Belfast because it is an area of high

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unemployment. We should celebrate the fact we have one of the best

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courses in the world and get on with it. Should we make sure there

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is private money going into that so that public money can be spread

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around? We have joined up common sense Government that recognises if

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you are going to have a Titanic project not everyone is going to

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benefit from it so other departments are involved. They're

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our jobs creation and tourism in terms of bringing the Irish Open to

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Royal Portrush. That goes across a number of Government departments. I

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also agree with the minister that it is time to be confident. I

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reserve the right to scrutinise and criticise where necessary but also

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too pleased where appropriate. We should be confident about Northern

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Ireland going forward. We will leave it there. Thank you for

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joining us. Now for a our regular look at things in the 60 seconds.

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Stars came out in London this week to help promote a new image of

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Northern Ireland but back home in Derry the old image returned with a

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bang. Two bombs went off causing damage close to the city centre.

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The damage these devices will have done to the reputation of the city

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cannot be understated. Lord Trimble attacked the present Ulster

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Unionist leader with the rejection of the Tories. He is entitled to

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his opinion. Another relationship in Stormont was also under pressure.

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While for at least one of his colleagues changes to pre-school

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education was in flopped. I could come down there and kiss them but

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it is probably inappropriate! to see there is still some

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opportunity for us you were out there on the hill. Your party

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leader does seem to spend a lot of time on the back foot defending

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things? It is only 16 months since 1,000 people turned up for the

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leadership vote. He got a massive mandate. The biggest in modern

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Ulster Unionist history, bigger than Lord Trimble. Leading from the

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front, the way it has transpired is that he has to defend what he has

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said and it does seem on occasions a bit of foot in mouth. In politics

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it is very important to communicate and often that means telling them

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and telling them again. He is safe in leadership in your view?

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Absolutely. There have been lots of issues at Belfast City Council, in

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terms of tourism and looking forward, how do you think we can

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sell Belfast as a city that is comfortable and comparable to other

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British cities? Belfast has a lot to offer. 60% of tourists who come

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here are a cultural tourists. We need to provide them a product to

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come and visit. We have to tackle the high levels of joblessness.

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Over 30 years we have failed to do that. Next month we will launch a

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�150 million capital investment programme. We want to try to sort

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out a lot of work in the neighbourhoods. People have not

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Andrew Neil and Tara Mills with the latest political news with Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna on Labour's plan for the economy and is it time to leave the European Court of Human Rights?


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