25/11/2012 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


25/11/2012

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

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2246 seconds

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

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Politics in Northern Ireland. Soaking up the applause from the

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

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including Catholics. As budget negotiations stall in Brussels,

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

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Mike Smyth sets out the difficulties ahead. And with their

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It is something that is incompatible with my beliefs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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man responsible for making it happen.

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

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

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opposition to a border poll. think everybody knows what the

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

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

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

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

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talk about changing the system instalment wrongly as summer tent

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

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

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

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comfortable with the idea of advocating for a proper official

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

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

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

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them from building into the competition. I would facilitated in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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have ministerial positions and take other benefits from that. When

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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consequences of having a slower process. That will be the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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convinced by their reconciliation Chatterjee -- strategy for the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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step to imagine that Catholics may feel comfortable in the United

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Peter Robinson repeated he would facilitate opposition. That is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reconciliation Fund is in grave danger of not being extended past

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

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

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

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hanging in the balance? Their British Prime Minister wants a

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

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

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

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

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Brussels, it will probably be signed off after the main

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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stand over making the case for Northern Ireland when there are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Northern Ireland it is a significant amount of money.

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Accessing those funds under at peace funding programme would have

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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community groups that have benefited from it. I heard this

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morning an interesting discussion about a project where victims were

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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has been useful. There are some things the Executive finds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that south of the border because the infrastructure was so poor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The price of discrimination, Protestant Alan Lennon is awarded

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

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

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

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

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

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

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difference will it make when these world leaders appear in Fermanagh

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

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

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summer like Northern Ireland tizzy this massive scale of an event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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