25/11/2012 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


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

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Our top ministers finally get face time with the Prime Minister - who


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2246 seconds


gives Fermanagh the G8 summit. Join Hello and welcome to Sunday


Politics in Northern Ireland. Soaking up the applause from the


party faithful, Peter Robinson sets out plans to woo new members,


including Catholics. As budget negotiations stall in Brussels,


what will the stalemate mean for peace funds here? The economist


Mike Smyth sets out the difficulties ahead. And with their


take on events, Liam Clarke of the Sunday Times and Denzil McDaniel of


The DUP has undergone many changes in the past few years. It's become


Northern Ireland's biggest party, it's gone into government with Sinn


Fein and it's attracted members and voters from other unionist parties.


But it has never attracted into its ranks a representative from the


cross-community Alliance Party. As our Political Correspondent, Gareth


Gordon, reports from the annual conference, that may be about to


The annual conference appears to grow year on year. This is not a


party in need of resuscitation. One problem for parties that have grown


so quickly is to keep that momentum going. Enter this man. He was at


councillor for the Alliance Party. Yes, the Alliance Party. Have you


left the Alliance Party because of their support for our that issue?


It is something that is incompatible with my beliefs.


have some very good friends here and I have been invited to the


conference to look around. Are you considering joining? Yes, I am.


a member yet, but for the party leader that is just a new detail.


Over the past decade we have gone from strength to strength, not by


closing our doors, but welcoming in all those who share out Lucan


values. And let me say, tantalisingly, we are not finished


bringing people into the party yet. The party is also keen to show it


is listening to those already in the ranks. Mr Robinson spoke again


of attracting Catholics, that means toning down some of the All


cimbalom -- symbolism and rhetoric, but not completely. If no longer


can Sinn Fein be allowed to have it all ways. Going to the Parliament


periodically to it let sectarian speeches be spied a debt. Pick up


their expenses by doing nothing. It is time for Parliament to act with


the situation and we will be making sure they do that once and for all.


As a former director of publicity for the UUP, this man had never


attended a conference before. What did he think? I could not have come


here 10 years ago comfortably. I would not have been invited onto


their platform of far a panel discussion. I have enjoyed it,


there is a sense of excitement that I have not seen at a party


conference. And so say all of them. As they clapped and cheered, this


man responsible for making it happen.


Gareth Gordon reporting. After his speech, Peter Robinson spoke to our


Political Editor, Mark Devenport, who asked first about Mr Robinson's


opposition to a border poll. think everybody knows what the


outcome of a border poll would be in Northern Ireland. Why would we


carry this out when we know everyone is content to remain in


the United Kingdom. It will take the focus away from other problems


they are facing. You say your critics within Sinn Fein regard you


talk about changing the system instalment wrongly as summer tent


to go back to the 1930s. What are you looking for or what you think


is realistically achievable? -- Stormont. I think we need to change


the length of some of these processes. On top of that I am


comfortable with the idea of advocating for a proper official


opposition. At the moment we don't have such an opposition. But there


the SDLP and Ulster Unionists, if they are not content that they can


make a valuable contribution in the Executive, then I would not stop


them from building into the competition. I would facilitated in


terms of resources being made available. We have had a lot of


arguments about the opposition. Sinn Fein is sceptical about it. Do


you think changes will be cutting down the numbers and Parliament?


will see the answer to that very soon. We have committed ourselves


to bring our proposals before the end of the year. So in the next few


weeks we will be getting down to the hard work of bringing forehead


a final document on the issue. I think we have a ludicrous situation


where people say they want to get into opposition went for all


intents and purposes they are an opposition now. They are happy to


have ministerial positions and take other benefits from that. When


there is a hard to decision to be made, we see dust from their heels.


If they want to be mature members of an Executive, that is the best


way. They they cannot make that commitment, the alternative is


there for them. I gather that potentially we may be hitting a


similar debate about civil service pension reform in the next few days


that you were not able to agree in the Executive? There was no


argument in terms of the content. That was already agreed by the


Executive. I think we know the financial consequences if we were


to reach parity in terms of their pensions. The only argument will be


about what process we should go through in order to have that


result. Whether it should be an Assembly vault. And their


consequences of having a slower process. That will be the


discussion. Rather than the content. -- vault. How seriously are you


considering running two candidates? We are considering it. It is a


matter for the internal party machine to consider. I have made it


clear my support for Diana, I think she has done as if -- a fantastic


job in Europe. Whether we put a second candidate in is something


the party Executive will decide. You made it clear that you're not


convinced by their reconciliation Chatterjee -- strategy for the


Executive. In terms of the consent, the first deputy and I are on the


same place. They are some issues that the SDLP are looking at and


they should be given the time to do that. I have indicated my patient


to get this out. There is further work they can be done with party


leaders. We have made a good job. There were parties that were there


for most of the time and for political reasons I think we have


decided they want to distance themselves. I do not think the


electorate will take account way. This is an important issue, it is


right we get a strategy that people can buy into it. I do not think the


ball take timely one people saying -- taking a solo stance. -- vote.


With me now are Liam Clarke of the Belfast Telegraph and Denzil


McDaniel of the Impartial Reporter. You heard what Mr Robinson had is


in there. Any surprises? She has continued with reaching out to the


community. But what he does not talk about is that he is also that


-- delivering on a fundamental issue. A -- that does not come into


it. That is there to keep some people online for the reaching out


staff. What you make about this pitch to bring more Catholics into


the D L P? Is that achievable? Is it something that Party can move


on? I think there were mixed messages on that yesterday. I


thought there was some flag-waving from the leader as well. That is a


real danger. He did talk at great length. There is great surprise


that someone from the Lions party may join the party. I think it is a


huge step to think the Catholics were joined the party as well. It


was significant he mentioned the border poll because it is a big


step to imagine that Catholics may feel comfortable in the United


Kingdom at the moment. But will they vote? The significance is if


we get a border poll, the mechanism will say it happens every seven


years. And week are then in a debate for the future of Northern


Ireland. What about the motion from the Alliance Party being tempted


perhaps to join the DUP? They hint was strong that this is a move that


he might make? Yes, it was. He said he might stay as an independent.,


at that case what was he doing there? He said his friend and I


them. It was a sign of changed times. I agree it will be hard to


get Catholics in with the current position. It was interesting when


Peter Robinson repeated he would facilitate opposition. That is


where he will target members. will be interesting to see that


happen. Do you get a sense that that is a move politically that is


do it all? I think it is. It is as a prize in this sounds that I do


not know the man. -- a surprise. For now, thank you very much indeed.


Could the British government's insistence on an EU budget freeze


put our next tranche of European peace money in jeopardy? The Ulster


unionist MEP, Jim Nicholson, has warned that the Peace and


Reconciliation Fund is in grave danger of not being extended past


2014. Since 1995 Northern Ireland and the Irish border counties have


benefited from around �1.35bn in funding. The current Peace III


programme is due to end next year. How much do think that funding is


hanging in the balance? Their British Prime Minister wants a


freeze and the budget in real terms. It is under some pressure. However,


I remember the circumstances of the last negotiation, it was very much


last-minute decision. It was done well after the final negotiations.


I have a feeling that this and, everything is agreed invisible in


Brussels, it will probably be signed off after the main


negotiations over. I am not as pessimistic as gem is. He says that


the political well does not seem to be there on the part of the UK


Government. It wants this freeze on the European Union budget, it is


not prepared to make they ask for Northern Ireland to get the special


funding. He says the UK has got to step up to the players. Yes, I


think the UK has to indicate the desire to have the package. That is


part of the negotiation. I do not think people expect Mr Cameron to


achieve a freeze in real terms. The question is what kind of work will


run can he get? -- wiggle room. That is the thing. How much can he


stand over making the case for Northern Ireland when there are


other areas in the European Union where the need is at least as great,


if not even significantly greater? That is a difficult one. In the


context of a huge budget of a trillion Euros, the peace package


is not really terribly vague. What we're looking at here in the


negotiation is about the big-ticket items, about the British rebate,


about major cohesion funding and structure of funding. And the way


these things tend to be negotiated is the big items are negotiated for


us, then the devil is in the detail. The officials work that out. My


assumption as a peace package is agreed out invisible. A final


discussion will be around the size of it rather than whether there


will be one are not. In the overall budget, it is a small budget. For


Northern Ireland it is a significant amount of money.


Accessing those funds under at peace funding programme would have


as significant impact on community groups across the country? It's


certainly would. It is perhaps not widely acknowledged, but their role


the European Union has played, cannot be understated. We should


understand it is an important package. What impact with it have


any a place of work and her manner? I think there are high hopes that


the programme will happen. People need it happened. I think you could


be argued that over the various projects, the real peace building


has taken place on those projects long grassroots level. There are


community groups that have benefited from it. I heard this


morning an interesting discussion about a project where victims were


able to tell their stories, which was vitally important. There are


many projects that need to continue. Those are rural projects that


Denzel is talking about. There are City projects, whether it is in the


north-west are Belfast, there are equally important to those groups?


Absolutely. There are some big- ticket items and there. I do not


have a says that we are not going to have a programme, or what might


happen is that the amount that has been expected might be reduced,


depending on the outcome of the negotiations. What's -- what you


make of the idea of a pleading? are in a recession. European money


has been useful. There are some things the Executive finds


difficult to agree on. I think it would be a bad effect of we did not


get it and I think Europe would like to hold us up as an example of


conflict that could be sold. You are right, it is time we got past


the poor us, the handouts. It will take a year or two yet. Do you feel


uncomfortable about that? It is not a pleading. What have the European


is done for us? Quite a lot. 1.3 5 billion euros of funding. Look


across the border and we see and new roads network. This is money


coming into bills society here. It is vital work they should continue.


It has been short-term. What would you call it? Brussels has done more


for us here. Since Britain joined the European Union, the commission,


we have received more or. The Treasury has netted it off. My


feeling is we will have a programme and it will be something of a


similar scale, spread over a longer period of time. So you're answer is


quite a lot? Quite a lot. If our national Government decided to keep


the money. They said they would spend it here anyway. We notice


that south of the border because the infrastructure was so poor


until the late 1980s. We will find out in due course. Many community


groups Bobby sitting with their fingers crossed in the meantime. --


will be. Now for the week in 60 Seconds - with Martina Purdy.


Our top ministers finally get face time with the Prime Minister, who


gives Fermanagh the G8 summit. have decided the right place to


hold it is right here And wait for it - Jim Wells'


apology for offending a Sinn Fein minister and her advisor. You are


going to have a long wait. What Ann Travers whose sister was


murdered by the IRA had to say about its murder campaign.


The price of discrimination, Protestant Alan Lennon is awarded


�150,000, after a Sinn Fein minister Conor Murphy failed to


appoint him. My individual role as That was a Freudian slip there.


Marina Purdie with the making 60 seconds. I do not know what Stephen


Agnew was hinting at there. Let's talk about the G8. You're newspaper


broke the story and scoot everybody as far as everybody is concerned.


You are able to say we told you so. The difference -- question is what


difference will it make when these world leaders appear in Fermanagh


in June? It used set aside and look at the G8 issue, these world


leaders, will they make a difference? It is vital for a


summer like Northern Ireland tizzy this massive scale of an event


coming, it will showcase for a man and Northern Ireland. Do you think


it will have a big impact on the community of a man and a wall of


Northern Ireland? Your paper was saying this could be a �100 million


bonus for the county? I didn't do that one. But they are adding up


the effect on hotels and restaurants. If the town will be


fooled when the holiday season has not started. Will they chase the


protest to account as well? I think traders are canny enough to go for


either. They will spread across to Donegal and Sligo as well. I think


the big thing for us will be for people halfway across the world who


still think we're a bit like the Ritz, they will seek that the G8


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