30/06/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


30/06/2013

The latest political news, interviews and debate in Northern Ireland.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 30/06/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Another road in the way forward for post primary education here, this

:01:16.:01:25.
:01:26.:01:26.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1921 seconds

:01:26.:33:27.

time in the Craigavon area. Join me in Northern Ireland. School may be

:33:27.:33:34.

out, but may be a way forward for post primary education? There has

:33:34.:33:39.

been no end of terror and cheer for politicians who feel this may be the

:33:39.:33:44.

end of schools in the Craigavon area. Joining me is Mervyn Storey

:33:44.:33:50.

and Chris Hazzard. And in the Republic, tensions rise as TDs

:33:50.:33:56.

prepare to vote on abortion legislation. Discussing that are

:33:56.:34:01.

Dearbhil McDonald from the Irish Independent and public relations

:34:01.:34:07.

consultant Nick Garbutt. Is a proposal to merge several post

:34:07.:34:12.

primary schools in County Armagh an attempt to end selection by the back

:34:12.:34:17.

door? The Dickson Plan has been used in Craigavon for the last 40 years.

:34:17.:34:20.

Children are selected to go to a grammar or high school at 14 instead

:34:20.:34:25.

of 11. The decision to merge the two grammar schools - Portadown College

:34:25.:34:29.

and Lurgan College - with their neighbouring high schools has

:34:29.:34:34.

sharply divided the community. Joining me is Mervyn Storey and Sinn

:34:34.:34:39.

Fein's Chris Hazzard. Thank you for joining us. Mervyn Storey, this is a

:34:39.:34:43.

decision taken by the southern education board, southern -- subject

:34:43.:34:47.

to further consultation. The minister says he will listen to all

:34:47.:34:52.

representations before he makes the final call. What is the problem? The

:34:52.:34:55.

problem is the Minister has nailed his colours to the mast this week.

:34:55.:34:59.

In terms of the Dickson Plan, he sees it as part of the problem

:34:59.:35:05.

rather than the solution. There is a serious question mark over the

:35:05.:35:11.

integrity of the process, the discussions it would seem that took

:35:11.:35:14.

place in the Department for Education prior to the board taking

:35:14.:35:21.

its decision in relation to this matter, so the independence of this

:35:21.:35:25.

process is questionable. There is a clear majority of parents, 87% of

:35:25.:35:29.

parents in the Dickson Plan area, who want it to remain. Clearly the

:35:29.:35:33.

Minister and the board have not listened to that expression of the

:35:33.:35:40.

opinion. The Minister has been very clear about this, he said he wants

:35:40.:35:43.

the best possible education for every child in the area. He does not

:35:43.:35:47.

deny that some children do well in the current system but he wants

:35:47.:35:52.

every child to have that opportunity. And so do we, we want

:35:52.:35:58.

the same for all children. If there has to be elements of

:35:58.:36:04.

change to the system, no system of change -- no system is perfect,

:36:04.:36:09.

however, what is very clear is that we have a situation now where we are

:36:09.:36:16.

basically being told that, despite what the public opinion is, despite

:36:16.:36:20.

the other issues of real concerns, it seems as though the control

:36:20.:36:25.

sector is being bullied into following the line of the maintained

:36:25.:36:30.

sector, when the maintained sector is unhappy with following the

:36:30.:36:34.

direction the bishops have given in academic selection. The controlled

:36:34.:36:39.

sector should not be treated in that way because of others. What about

:36:39.:36:45.

the notion of parental choice? Mervyn Storey says 87% of parents

:36:45.:36:52.

want the system to stay the way it This is the south-eastern border,

:36:52.:36:56.

and we must remember that five of the seven schools Mervyn Storey is

:36:56.:37:04.

referring to have supported the move is. -- the moves. The Catholic

:37:04.:37:09.

sector have proposed an nonvoluntary, all-inclusive grammar

:37:09.:37:13.

school, so this does not have to be the end of grammar schools. There is

:37:14.:37:17.

a question on the controlled sector, why do you not open up to every

:37:17.:37:23.

child in this area? It is the southern board area, Doucet

:37:23.:37:30.

south-eastern. There is now -- you said south-eastern. There is now

:37:30.:37:33.

consultation. The question is, will the Minister will listen to Michael

:37:33.:37:36.

and if he can be persuaded by Mervyn Storey and others that he has got

:37:36.:37:42.

this wrong, Mickey be persuaded to not go down this road? -- might he

:37:43.:37:48.

be persuaded? I have said that he will listen to

:37:48.:37:54.

all arguments from the table, but he cannot argue with statistics.

:37:54.:37:58.

you can argue with statistics, Mervyn Storey will produce other

:37:58.:38:03.

statistics. 43% of children are underachieving in the Dickson Plan.

:38:03.:38:08.

That is far worse than the average rate across the North. Where is the

:38:08.:38:13.

evidence that changing the system will address that problem? Clearly

:38:13.:38:17.

we do not have that evidence, because the Ofsted report last week

:38:17.:38:22.

from England clearly demonstrated that children are not performing

:38:22.:38:26.

well in a comprehensive system. The use of this figure, 43%, is an

:38:27.:38:32.

absolute misnomer. What we are doing is putting all of the schools in the

:38:32.:38:39.

Dickson Plan. They are maintained, integrated and controlled, -- the

:38:39.:38:42.

maintained, the integrated and the controlled, they are put altogether

:38:42.:38:48.

and it is a very different picture. The bishops have failed in terms of

:38:48.:38:51.

persuading the Roman Catholic community in Northern Ireland that

:38:51.:38:57.

there is merit in moving away from high academic achieving schools.

:38:57.:39:03.

They have not completely failed. if you talk to parents in the

:39:03.:39:07.

Craigavon area, they are not convinced the plan for the

:39:07.:39:10.

maintained sector is the way in which they should proceed, because

:39:10.:39:15.

now we have parents in the Catholic sector looking for places in

:39:15.:39:18.

nondenominational grammar schools. I think that is an issue that Catholic

:39:18.:39:25.

bishops need to take seriously. What do you want to see happening

:39:25.:39:29.

now to Michael you have tried to go over the head of the education

:39:29.:39:33.

minister. You have asked the First Minister to allow the decision

:39:33.:39:37.

ultimately to be taken by the Assembly? Queer as the democracy in

:39:37.:39:43.

that? -- where is the democracy in that? The Minister himself has

:39:44.:39:46.

unfortunately muddied the waters in the comments he made this week where

:39:46.:39:50.

he was critical of the Dickson Plan. He is the person who tells us this

:39:51.:39:55.

plan will have to come to him, and he will in a dispassionate and

:39:55.:39:59.

independent way make a decision. He has already decided and that is why

:39:59.:40:05.

I believe the executive has to call this decision into question. What

:40:05.:40:09.

happens if we go down that road, where the power is taken out of

:40:09.:40:15.

Europe Party colleagues' hands to make the decision? The education

:40:15.:40:19.

minister is responsible for the education attainment of all the

:40:19.:40:24.

children in the north. We have a situation where 43%, nearly half of

:40:24.:40:29.

the children at GCSE level, are not achieving five GCSEs. That indicates

:40:29.:40:35.

to us change is needed and is needed right now. Mervyn Storey, before we

:40:35.:40:39.

move on, I need to ask you for your response to comments from Donal

:40:40.:40:47.

McKeown, the auxiliary Bishop of Conor Ryan down. He said your Party

:40:47.:40:52.

leader's -- corner -- Down and Connor. He said your Party leader's

:40:52.:40:55.

comments were nakedly sectarian. This is not the first time my Party

:40:55.:41:03.

leader has been misquoted and misrepresented. Donal McKeown came

:41:03.:41:07.

out and said that in a very negative attitude. Ten days later he had to

:41:07.:41:11.

change his tune because he was on the wrong side of the argument. The

:41:11.:41:15.

debate about education was commenced by my Party leader and is now

:41:15.:41:18.

continuing, and I think the bishop needs to listen to his own

:41:19.:41:22.

community, see what is happening within his own community and

:41:22.:41:26.

recognise that the apartheid in terms of educational provision

:41:26.:41:30.

cannot continue and we need a resolution. I think that that is

:41:30.:41:34.

where the bishops, rather than protecting their own side, need to

:41:34.:41:39.

come into the 21st-century. Thank you both very much indeed for now.

:41:39.:41:43.

Let's hear from Dearbhil McDonald and Nick Garbutt, today's

:41:43.:41:46.

commentators. First of all, divisions over postprimary education

:41:46.:41:51.

in this part of the world simply will not go away. They will not come

:41:51.:41:54.

it will be difficult to resolve. To look at it coldly and

:41:54.:41:59.

objectively, we have a real crisis in our education system, because we

:41:59.:42:05.

have too many young people in -- leaving school who are not fit for

:42:05.:42:08.

the workplace. At the same time we have too many schools, because you

:42:08.:42:15.

are dividing by academic selection but also along religious lines. It

:42:15.:42:19.

is expensive to educate its at the moment, and unless there is

:42:19.:42:22.

something of rationalisation, we are not ever going to get any better. It

:42:22.:42:26.

is a huge issue for politicians to grapple with, and that is probably

:42:26.:42:31.

why we have not made a great deal of progress in the past few years.

:42:31.:42:34.

Dearbhil McDonald, what is your interpretation? You went through

:42:34.:42:42.

education in this part of the world, but you now live outside the area,

:42:42.:42:47.

what do you think? I benefited from the selection in Northern Ireland,

:42:48.:42:52.

the 11 plus, which is a grotesque example in my view in the Republic,

:42:52.:42:56.

it was streamlined later, and also on a faith basis, I attended a

:42:56.:43:00.

Catholic maintained grammar school and did very well from it. But there

:43:00.:43:04.

is an apartheid in education in the north. If you think in terms of a

:43:04.:43:09.

shared future, this is something that has to be grappled across

:43:09.:43:13.

Ulster. We are having a different debate in the Republican terms of

:43:13.:43:16.

primary schools, 90% of which are Catholic maintained. A lot of people

:43:16.:43:21.

are Catholic by default in Republic of Ireland, virtual -- by virtue of

:43:21.:43:25.

the need to get their children into the education facility of their

:43:25.:43:28.

choice. There are some schools in Dublin where there are no white

:43:29.:43:32.

children, for example. On both sides of the border we are struggling with

:43:32.:43:36.

this need. It is an apartheid that needs to be addressed. The education

:43:36.:43:44.

system is one of the main prisons we have to get through to a shared

:43:44.:43:50.

future. It is contributed, we believe it there now. There was a

:43:50.:43:53.

time in the Republic when the church and the state had a close

:43:53.:43:56.

relationship but times have certainly changed as DD is prepared

:43:56.:43:59.

to vote this week on the controversial Abortion Bill.

:43:59.:44:04.

The government is ignoring the Catholic Church's objections. -- as

:44:04.:44:08.

TDss prepare to vote. There was a time when the church and the state

:44:08.:44:14.

had a cosy relationship, but the revelations of child sex abuse by

:44:14.:44:17.

priests and the cover-ups by bishops more worried about the church's

:44:17.:44:21.

reputation than the plight of victims changed all that.

:44:21.:44:26.

I am proud to stand here as a public representative, as Taoiseach who

:44:26.:44:33.

happens to be Catholic, but not a catholic Taoiseach.

:44:33.:44:37.

Abortion as an issue arouses strong passions and the Taoiseach made

:44:37.:44:41.

those remarks in ranch -- answer to a question on the subject. The

:44:41.:44:46.

government's proposal is divisive, to allow terminations when three

:44:46.:44:50.

medics all agreed a mother is suicidal because of her pregnancy.

:44:50.:44:54.

Anti-abortion campaigners say the Bill will for the first time allow

:44:54.:44:58.

for the intentional killing of the unborn in the Republic. For them it

:44:58.:45:02.

is not just a religious but human rights issue, as the mother and

:45:02.:45:07.

foetus have equal rights to life. I feel everyone has a right to life,

:45:07.:45:11.

especially those in the womb of a mother. No matter how much oil has

:45:11.:45:15.

been conceived it has a right to life. As Catholics, as catholic

:45:16.:45:19.

priests and a catholic nation, we have a human rights to highlight the

:45:19.:45:25.

importance of life from the womb to the tomb.

:45:25.:45:30.

Eamon Martin, the incoming Catholic Primate, said that those TDss and

:45:30.:45:35.

senators who voted for the Abortion Bill will excommunicate themselves.

:45:35.:45:40.

Senator Ronan Mullen, who has strong pro-life views, says excommunication

:45:40.:45:45.

is a red herring. Politicians like to say down here that they are

:45:45.:45:48.

somehow standing up to the Catholic Church. That is kind of juvenile at

:45:48.:45:57.

this stage. This is an issue about a child's life and the mother's best

:45:57.:46:07.
:46:07.:46:09.

interests. The value shared by the genteel manner born novelist here.

:46:09.:46:12.

In her newspaper column she praised the Taoiseach for not bending the

:46:12.:46:16.

knee to the church on abortion and for ignoring excommunication.

:46:16.:46:19.

There is talk about it being a red herring, but it was a red herring

:46:19.:46:26.

tangled by Seaview -- senior clerics and it has beaten the Calcutta and

:46:26.:46:30.

politicians back into line before, but not any more. -- recalcitrant

:46:30.:46:37.

politicians. The Doyle is due to have the first of the votes on the

:46:37.:46:40.

Bill in the coming days, with the legislation expected to pass

:46:40.:46:43.

comfortably, another sign of the changing structure and state

:46:43.:46:52.

relationship. -- church and state relationship.

:46:52.:46:53.

Joining me now is Father Tim Bartlett.

:46:53.:46:57.

Don't you have to accept at this stage that the Catholic Church is

:46:57.:47:01.

not bigger than the democratic process? I think this issue of

:47:01.:47:05.

abortion cannot be reduced to an issue of church and state. That is a

:47:05.:47:11.

hackneyed, 70s, 80s debate in the Republic. A priest of my generation

:47:11.:47:18.

comes to this debate as a citizen, who with other citizens, in fact

:47:18.:47:22.

40,000 citizens who gathered for a pro-life rally, two weeks ago. It

:47:22.:47:26.

was not organised by the church. Those who were there included

:47:26.:47:29.

bishops who came voluntarily, but they were surrounded by people of

:47:29.:47:33.

every age who had no connection to the church because they share a

:47:33.:47:37.

commitment to the gym in principle that it is never right to directly

:47:37.:47:45.

and intentionally kill an innocent person. -- to the human principle.

:47:45.:47:50.

Forget the church-state side of that, it is not about flat any more.

:47:50.:47:55.

It is not just Catholics, despite your carefully chosen clips. It may

:47:55.:47:59.

be it is not just Catholics, and it may be that you don't like to

:47:59.:48:02.

characterise it as church against state, but whether you like that or

:48:03.:48:09.

not it is how many people see it. Martina Devlin said this effectively

:48:09.:48:14.

comes down to democracy against theocracy.

:48:14.:48:18.

No, it doesn't. A pluralist, diverse democracy allows space for all

:48:18.:48:25.

voices. What is really happening is increasingly politicians and so on

:48:25.:48:28.

are not only marginalising voices that don't suit their agenda,

:48:28.:48:38.
:48:38.:48:39.

including the church, which is not pluralist, diverse democracy, but

:48:39.:48:44.

the Taoiseach and particular and others are -- in particular, are

:48:44.:48:50.

forcing the issue and forcing people to vote in a particular way. That is

:48:50.:48:55.

dictatorship, not diverse, pluralist democracy. Give us a free vote and

:48:55.:48:59.

let us see what democracy, free from the political whip, actually

:48:59.:49:03.

produces. If what you are saying is correct, why did the incoming

:49:03.:49:09.

Catholic Primate Eamon Martin say that those TDss who voted in favour

:49:09.:49:13.

will excommunicate themselves two that is a fact. If they are memories

:49:14.:49:18.

of the Catholic Church and freely assented to be so, this is an issue

:49:18.:49:22.

of fundamental importance. -- if they are members of the Catholic

:49:22.:49:26.

Church. The issue of excommunication is not the right issue in terms of

:49:26.:49:29.

what might happen if somebody votes for this.

:49:29.:49:34.

Everyone should be aware that voting for this Bill is, without any

:49:34.:49:39.

question or doubt, cooperating in a mortal evil. It has serious

:49:39.:49:44.

consequences for every individual. What about the Catholic elected

:49:44.:49:49.

representative in the Republic who does not share your view? They have

:49:49.:49:52.

to explain to everyone why they believe that is not the case.

:49:52.:49:56.

However, there is no objective or rational way that this Bill can be

:49:56.:50:05.

squared with the pro-life position. How can you square pro-life view

:50:05.:50:10.

with the intentional killing of end -- innocent children? This Bill is

:50:10.:50:13.

medically unjustified and unnecessary. It is legally

:50:13.:50:17.

unjustified and unnecessary and in our view it is constitutionally

:50:17.:50:22.

challengeable on a lot of fronts, including the right of individual

:50:22.:50:25.

politicians to exercise their constitutional rights in relation to

:50:25.:50:28.

conscience and religious belief to not have any penalty applied to

:50:28.:50:37.

them. You say that this is a -- not an issue on church and state and it

:50:37.:50:42.

is cliched and hackneyed to say that, yet you chant -- turn it into

:50:42.:50:46.

church against state. The Taoiseach said I am a Taoiseach who is

:50:46.:50:52.

catholic but not a catholic Taoiseach. The irony is that a

:50:52.:50:55.

Catholic politician should be able to say I am a catholic, I am a

:50:55.:51:03.

citizen, and my catholic faith informs my human reason about this

:51:03.:51:08.

value. They should actually have this base to be Catholic, not have

:51:08.:51:12.

to push that to the side. That is the real dynamic going on in our

:51:12.:51:17.

society, we want to marginalise all sorts of faith and create a new,

:51:17.:51:23.

secular orthodoxy. There is no neutral view of society. Everyone

:51:23.:51:25.

come including catholic politicians, should be able to see what they

:51:25.:51:30.

believe openly. Thank you, let me bring in Dearbhil McDonald, who

:51:30.:51:34.

takes a keen interest in this particular subject. But is Father

:51:34.:51:37.

Tim Bartlett have a point when he says it is not in a point when he

:51:37.:51:40.

says it is not innocently a surplus extends about church and state?

:51:40.:51:46.

He is, in this sense. When the original pro-life amendment

:51:46.:51:51.

came into being the church had a lot of influence at that stage. Over a

:51:51.:51:56.

30 year period since 1992, the X case, which we are no legislating

:51:56.:52:01.

for, the influence has waned. They are still a powerful voice, but the

:52:01.:52:06.

reason it is not a simple democracy-theocracy debate is that

:52:06.:52:10.

public opinion in rock -- Ireland has changed. We are legislating for

:52:10.:52:16.

the X case, as far back as 1992. There was a recent opinion poll

:52:16.:52:20.

commissioned by the Irish Times showing more than eight out of ten

:52:20.:52:22.

supported lawful termination of pregnancy in circumstances of rape

:52:22.:52:29.

and incest. Much of the debate in the Republic has been, why are we

:52:29.:52:33.

not including fatal faecal abnormalities? There have been some

:52:33.:52:39.

interesting developments since 1980. And since 1992. The Supreme

:52:39.:52:43.

Court recently had a ruling that addressed the staters of the unborn.

:52:43.:52:48.

In the context of a frozen embryo, there was a challenge to that. The

:52:48.:52:53.

protection for the unborn is after -- for the unborn is after

:52:53.:52:58.

implantation. Within a few years we will have a fatal abnormality case

:52:58.:53:01.

before our courts and it is arguable on the Supreme Court's bases that

:53:01.:53:05.

will be allowed under the Constitution. If the church calls

:53:05.:53:08.

for a referendum I don't know whether... The main issue here is

:53:08.:53:14.

with suicide, and twice the electorate in the Republic of

:53:14.:53:18.

Ireland has rejected excluding on grounds of suicide. It is no longer

:53:18.:53:23.

simply church and state but not for the reasons suggested. What you are

:53:23.:53:26.

saying is in fact there could be a much wider debate about abortion

:53:26.:53:32.

being allowed in more circumstances than would be allowed under the

:53:32.:53:36.

proposed legislation? Absolutely. The same opinion poll showed a huge

:53:36.:53:43.

drop in support, only four out of ten supported in that case. I have

:53:43.:53:47.

to say that other people other than the church have expressed concerns

:53:47.:53:51.

about the issue of suicide. Closing sentence if you would, Father Tim

:53:51.:53:54.

Bartlett, on that point by Dearbhil McDonald, that it could be about

:53:54.:54:01.

more than it is? It is interesting that opinion polls show that we are

:54:01.:54:04.

this debate has focused, on the inclusion of suicide as a grounds

:54:04.:54:10.

for abortion, that the medical evidence jest this is not the case

:54:10.:54:13.

for abortion and will lead to mental health difficulties for all women,

:54:14.:54:17.

where it has focused on that the opinion polls have come down.

:54:17.:54:21.

debate is only starting and let us have it as equal citizens with an

:54:21.:54:24.

equal right to be heard. Thank you very much for coming in to join us.

:54:24.:54:30.

This is a look at the political week gone past in 60 seconds with Gareth

:54:30.:54:38.

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly came under fire from Unionists at his behaviour

:54:38.:54:43.

at a north Belfast parade. Anyone that views the video evidence will

:54:43.:54:51.

consider him to have been reckless and ill-advised. The Deputy First

:54:51.:54:55.

Minister backed his fellow MLA and said he was happy to speak to the

:54:55.:55:00.

Orange order about contentious parades. What people need to do is

:55:00.:55:05.

set down in a room together and worked out a solution. At

:55:05.:55:10.

Westminster, Alistair MacDonald was in trouble with the DUP.

:55:10.:55:15.

The DUP, Mr Speaker, are bigots and sectarians and want to drive a wedge

:55:15.:55:21.

through our society. And Jimmy Spratt apologised after referring to

:55:21.:55:25.

opponents of the peace and reconciliation centre at the Maze as

:55:25.:55:31.

nutters. You know what you said. You do not know what I said. I heard

:55:31.:55:36.

what you said. Gareth Gordon with the weak and sick

:55:36.:55:43.

stay seconds, and when the Hansard transcript was published it was

:55:43.:55:48.

shown that Jimmy Spratt had used the phrase nutters. Nick Garbutt, the

:55:48.:55:53.

performance of our politicians over the past seven days? It hasn't been

:55:53.:55:58.

great, has it? We were all in our best behaviour during the G8 summit

:55:58.:56:02.

and it is all deteriorating. Bad time, as well, with the marching

:56:02.:56:10.

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS