05/12/2016 Stormont Today


05/12/2016

A political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Mark Carruthers is the guide through the corridors of power at Stormont.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 05/12/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

The Executive's campaign to knock the paramilitaries back

:00:23.:00:27.

on their heels continues, but there's an obvious absence

:00:28.:00:30.

of agreement between the two main parties

:00:31.:00:32.

A new campaign reminds people that the money from counterfeit

:00:33.:00:38.

goods often ends up in the pockets of paramilitaries...

:00:39.:00:46.

And realise that buying a perfume for example shouldn't be undermined,

:00:47.:00:52.

it's not trivial, is the beginning of a chain of events that can cause

:00:53.:00:54.

great harm in their communities. A Sinn Fein motion on human rights

:00:55.:00:55.

provokes an angry response I often think of families robbed of

:00:56.:01:04.

a loved one at the hands of terrorism here in Northern Ireland.

:01:05.:01:06.

What a violation of their human rights.

:01:07.:01:07.

And joining me with his thoughts on today's developments

:01:08.:01:09.

How to tackle paramilitaries continues to be a source

:01:10.:01:17.

Today, the Executive launched a scheme which it hopes

:01:18.:01:21.

It's claimed around 138 crime gangs are selling counterfeit goods here.

:01:22.:01:28.

The Justice Minister says money spent on fake products

:01:29.:01:30.

she launched a public awareness campaign.

:01:31.:01:39.

I am your money. I am the notes you hand over for a fake bag or a shirt

:01:40.:01:48.

or drink. And passed to the man who sources that year. Join the pile is

:01:49.:01:54.

made from fake and illegal goods. Where I am used to pay for drugs to

:01:55.:01:59.

be sold in your community. I don't care that I found crying. I am your

:02:00.:02:05.

money. Last year, over 100 organised crime gangs including Summers who

:02:06.:02:09.

call themselves paramilitaries made tens of millions of pounds in

:02:10.:02:14.

Northern Ireland. The public need to realise that buying a perfume for

:02:15.:02:17.

example should not be undermined. It's not trivial, it's the beginning

:02:18.:02:19.

of a chain of events that could cause serious harm within their

:02:20.:02:23.

communities. Obviously, people will say this is all very well, but is

:02:24.:02:28.

the executive sending out a strong message of it had the paramilitaries

:02:29.:02:32.

and given what's been happening in some of the controversy over the

:02:33.:02:36.

social investment fund? The strongest message we've sent out is

:02:37.:02:41.

that we have accepted the recommendations in the paramilitary

:02:42.:02:43.

report and we are working through these actions. This is a very

:02:44.:02:46.

visible action that we are able to take forward today in terms of

:02:47.:02:48.

raising awareness. This is something we will do over the next couple of

:02:49.:02:51.

years and try to encourage the public to pay their role in tackling

:02:52.:02:55.

paramilitaries. But yes, I think what we are doing in terms of the

:02:56.:03:00.

action plan is a strong message because we are actually agreeing

:03:01.:03:02.

that we need to get rid of these people who scored our society. If

:03:03.:03:07.

the public do their part, can they be convinced that the police will be

:03:08.:03:11.

strong enough in terms of cracking down, in terms of arrests of

:03:12.:03:15.

paramilitary suspects? I think so. Adding the range of goods received

:03:16.:03:18.

today demonstrates the police's commitment in terms of this type of

:03:19.:03:20.

activity. The Justice Minister was quick

:03:21.:03:21.

to say there that the Executive is sending out a strong message

:03:22.:03:26.

to the paramilitaries. The message has become muddled in

:03:27.:03:37.

recent weeks due to stories about the social investment fund and try

:03:38.:03:40.

to an eyesore she does have a job of work to do in trying to convince the

:03:41.:03:46.

public that the executive's commitment in tackling this is as

:03:47.:03:47.

resolute as it could be. With the issue of Dee Stitt's

:03:48.:03:48.

position at Charter NI still hanging over the Executive it may prove

:03:49.:03:51.

difficult for the government An issue like this is important, but

:03:52.:04:05.

maybe it is less easy for something like this to grab the headlines.

:04:06.:04:09.

You've seen it there today. The Justice minister what's the story of

:04:10.:04:13.

the day to be about this and this publicity campaign in terms of

:04:14.:04:17.

criminality, but she is being talked with questions about the executive

:04:18.:04:21.

doing enough, whether they are leading by example. As long as we

:04:22.:04:26.

see stories like Charter an eye in the news, it will be difficult for

:04:27.:04:30.

them to get this message out to the public. 130 crime against selling

:04:31.:04:35.

goods across Northern Ireland, is perhaps only bigger scale than some

:04:36.:04:39.

people may have imagined. Criminality is a huge issue across

:04:40.:04:43.

Northern Ireland and a huge issue across many parts by society and the

:04:44.:04:46.

fact is that a lot of people will not have as much confidence in the

:04:47.:04:50.

police and in other sectors to properly tackle that criminality is

:04:51.:04:55.

so again, the justice minister does have a job of work to do in

:04:56.:04:58.

reassuring people and getting public confidence.

:04:59.:04:58.

Alliance is bringing a motion about the Social Investment Fund

:04:59.:05:00.

The opposition parties are not letting the issue fade

:05:01.:05:04.

into the background as the Executive parties might wish.

:05:05.:05:08.

Yes, Naomi Long made some further comments on the social investment

:05:09.:05:14.

fund today about the need for further investigation. This issue

:05:15.:05:17.

does seem to still have legs and it won't go away and I would expect it

:05:18.:05:20.

to dog the executive going into the New Year.

:05:21.:05:20.

The fall-out from his decision not to hand over regeneration powers

:05:21.:05:24.

to councils continues to follow the Communities Minister.

:05:25.:05:26.

At the dispatch today, Paul Givan reiterated that people

:05:27.:05:28.

don't care who does the work, as long as it's done.

:05:29.:05:32.

First up, though, he was asked for an update on the recently

:05:33.:05:35.

The community holds capital Grants scheme on the 19th of October was

:05:36.:05:49.

launched at Salters Tyne Orange Hall in Bally Roman. My department aims

:05:50.:05:53.

to distribute individual grants of up to a maximum of ?25,000 towards

:05:54.:06:00.

community holds minor works. There is half ?1 million allocated towards

:06:01.:06:05.

this pilot scheme in the current financial year and I can update

:06:06.:06:09.

perhaps that is currently, officials are in the process of assessing in

:06:10.:06:14.

excess of 800 applications. Will the Minister take this opportunity to

:06:15.:06:21.

acknowledge the huge need on their investment in our communities? There

:06:22.:06:24.

is a need for investment of community halls in our communities

:06:25.:06:28.

because they support a great amount of work done to our communities in

:06:29.:06:33.

Northern Ireland. Many halls are dilapidated and this pilot will

:06:34.:06:35.

reach only a small proportion of the halls that are in the worst

:06:36.:06:41.

conditions. On the basis of this pilot scheme, this is something that

:06:42.:06:45.

I believe does merit future support in our capital programme in the

:06:46.:06:49.

years ahead and I intend to bring forward a future programme to allow

:06:50.:06:53.

us to continue to improve community halls and undertake larger projects

:06:54.:06:58.

to raise the standards of the community halls facilities. Can I

:06:59.:07:01.

ask what shared future arrangements are included in the application

:07:02.:07:07.

process for this grand? 'S the applications for this grant is

:07:08.:07:10.

available to everybody to apply irrespective of class, creed or

:07:11.:07:17.

religion. Can the Minister confirm whether the decision not to devolve

:07:18.:07:19.

these powers was an executive decision or was it a sober one? This

:07:20.:07:27.

is an issue that I have been able to clarify with the Minister for

:07:28.:07:30.

Finance and obviously he, like I, are very keen to make sure that we

:07:31.:07:35.

use the opportunities we have two regenerate our towns and villages

:07:36.:07:38.

and so there is no disagreement or a disrespect of this issue. We are

:07:39.:07:43.

clear that we want towns and villages regenerated. Local

:07:44.:07:46.

Government what to do that and collectively together we will be

:07:47.:07:50.

able to achieve that and so this is an issue that I know some elected

:07:51.:07:54.

representatives have focused upon but whenever I have been meeting

:07:55.:07:58.

with community organisations, who I have to say all of whom I have met

:07:59.:08:02.

have said they are delighted that it is not going to local Government and

:08:03.:08:06.

that they wanted it to stay within my department's remit, this is

:08:07.:08:09.

something that I think people should move on with because the decision

:08:10.:08:14.

has been taken. We now have the lifetime of this mandate to make

:08:15.:08:16.

sure that we work together because the public do not distinguish

:08:17.:08:21.

between what local Government and central governments do. The bell

:08:22.:08:26.

that city growth strategy says it is essential that regeneration powers

:08:27.:08:32.

that have been available to other cities for decades are devolved to

:08:33.:08:35.

Belfast City Council. Can the Minister outline the key regions

:08:36.:08:41.

where he disagrees? Mr Speaker, the reasons in respect of the

:08:42.:08:44.

regeneration powers as laid out in great detail in a statement made to

:08:45.:08:48.

this house of which members of this house had opportunity to ask further

:08:49.:08:53.

questions. That decision has now been taken. I am keen to ensure that

:08:54.:08:57.

we maximise our regeneration powers and it will be in the interest of

:08:58.:09:03.

councils as well of whom I have met some recently, who recognised the

:09:04.:09:06.

decision has been making and now collectively want to work together

:09:07.:09:09.

and I'm sure Belfast City Council will want to do that as well.

:09:10.:09:11.

And that row over regeneration powers clearly rumbles on.

:09:12.:09:14.

The leader of the Green Party, Steven Agnew, was appointed

:09:15.:09:17.

to the Assembly's Business Committee today after a sustained campaign

:09:18.:09:19.

for the smaller parties to be represented on the body

:09:20.:09:22.

and establishes the rules governing debates.

:09:23.:09:25.

Mr Agnew says he'll use his position to make sure the committee's

:09:26.:09:28.

decision-making is open and transparent in future.

:09:29.:09:30.

You totally silly about changes to the business committee which were

:09:31.:09:43.

important and which were disadvantageous to the smaller

:09:44.:09:46.

parties. What were those changes and how did you discover that that has

:09:47.:09:51.

happened? The changes took place in November last year but I only found

:09:52.:09:54.

out about them being re-elected when I went to the induction period and

:09:55.:09:59.

that was in relation to the tabling of motions essentially before you

:10:00.:10:03.

could have exclusive motions. Now you could submit a motion on the

:10:04.:10:07.

Monday, another motion could be submitted on the Tuesday and that

:10:08.:10:12.

meant that my party would never have a motion debated. I set out to do

:10:13.:10:15.

three things. Achieve representation on the business committee, establish

:10:16.:10:23.

whether or not my party was able to put forward motions which it was no

:10:24.:10:27.

one had told us and we never had the opportunity to do so, and thirdly to

:10:28.:10:30.

get better speaking rights because this is something else that was

:10:31.:10:34.

changed at the start of this mandate and previous week where parties with

:10:35.:10:37.

two members had increased speaking rights over parties with one and we

:10:38.:10:42.

have effectively been relegated into the list again. Is that when I am

:10:43.:10:45.

yet to change but that will be the one I continue working on. You will

:10:46.:10:48.

try to make that change from the inside now rather than from the

:10:49.:10:51.

outside. How important do you think it is for you and the other smaller

:10:52.:10:55.

parties that you are now sitting at that table as of right? Before now,

:10:56.:11:01.

I had to write to the Speaker and requests papers that went to the

:11:02.:11:05.

committee meeting to see minutes in advance of them going online and

:11:06.:11:08.

really, we were not being informed. Changes were being made without us

:11:09.:11:15.

being informed so we will have the papers, we will have a say in the

:11:16.:11:19.

decisions and there will be transparency and openness around us

:11:20.:11:22.

assistance. Deal of credit to the five bigger parties for accepting

:11:23.:11:27.

your argument that you should be represented on the business

:11:28.:11:29.

committee? You made your case and they have effectively accepted that.

:11:30.:11:34.

We have got there. Persuasion was required and I welcome the decision

:11:35.:11:38.

that has been made. On the issue of speaking rights, effectively the two

:11:39.:11:43.

largest parties, DUP and Sinn Fein, for whatever reason want to keep us

:11:44.:11:48.

relegated to towards the end of debate. I think it is important to

:11:49.:11:51.

have a diversity of voices and effect of challenges and it's

:11:52.:11:56.

important that my constituents who elected me and the others in the

:11:57.:12:00.

other two parties are having their voices heard in the assembly chamber

:12:01.:12:06.

so I will continue to pressure that. Nothing was gifted. I suppose

:12:07.:12:09.

everything had to be top four but I welcome those other parties who have

:12:10.:12:14.

been supportive from the start but the two largest parties still seem

:12:15.:12:20.

to want to retain control. Can you effectively represent the views of

:12:21.:12:24.

people before profit? Those two parties and the Greens, pretty

:12:25.:12:29.

diverse grouping? It is very much a ministry position. This will be

:12:30.:12:32.

making sure that they are entitled to get their emotions and that their

:12:33.:12:36.

views are put forward. They need access to the papers and I will be

:12:37.:12:41.

sharing. You will represent Jim Allister on that committee? I will

:12:42.:12:47.

indeed. Can you do that easily? Uzzy comfortable with that? It's about

:12:48.:12:51.

respecting his mandate. We have worked in this together and he is

:12:52.:12:54.

happy although it was my campaign and I lead on it. But it is not... I

:12:55.:12:59.

suddenly will not be reflecting his views on climate change your LGBT

:13:00.:13:03.

right but I will be ensuring that it is his right as an elected

:13:04.:13:07.

representative to have a say. Ultimately, would you be comfortable

:13:08.:13:11.

with him at some stage in the future are presenting new? It will be a

:13:12.:13:15.

rotating membership. What I will tip the first period having led the

:13:16.:13:19.

campaign, the other parties will put forward their own representatives at

:13:20.:13:22.

other stages. It will be interesting to see how the debate over speaking

:13:23.:13:27.

rights unfolds in the months ahead. Thank you very much indeed for

:13:28.:13:28.

joining us. Levels of air pollution are falling

:13:29.:13:32.

across Northern Ireland, according to the Agriculture

:13:33.:13:34.

and Environment Minister, Michelle McIlveen says vehicle

:13:35.:13:35.

emissions are largely to blame Here she is, outlining

:13:36.:13:39.

the findings of the most recent report into air quality

:13:40.:13:42.

here during questions The report clearly shows that air

:13:43.:13:54.

quality in Northern Ireland is continuing to improve although we

:13:55.:13:58.

continue to have problems with emissions from road traffic. The

:13:59.:14:04.

report notes the long-time levels of pollutants in Belfast are decreasing

:14:05.:14:09.

albeit at a slower rate than I would like. In addressing egg quality in

:14:10.:14:14.

Belfast in Northern Ireland, our department has commenced a review of

:14:15.:14:19.

air quality policy and legislation with the intention of developing a

:14:20.:14:23.

dedicated Northern Ireland equality strategy and revised policy

:14:24.:14:30.

guidance. In addition to this review, my department currently

:14:31.:14:35.

provides funding support to councils including Belfast City Council to

:14:36.:14:39.

carry out their statutory management and action plan duties and has

:14:40.:14:44.

worked closely with Belfast City Council and the department for

:14:45.:14:47.

infrastructure to draw up an air quality action plan for the greater

:14:48.:14:52.

Belfast area. The quality issues here are predominantly due to road

:14:53.:14:56.

traffic commission is therefore the plan focuses on introducing the

:14:57.:15:01.

measures relating to sustainable transport such as the forthcoming

:15:02.:15:09.

Belfast rapid transport scheme, the Belfast transport hub, park-and-ride

:15:10.:15:15.

and strategies that promote public transport, walking and cycling.

:15:16.:15:23.

Would she agree with me in terms of tackling congestion any air quality

:15:24.:15:27.

strategy must have significant investment in infrastructure? I

:15:28.:15:34.

totally agree with the member and as the Foreign Minister for regional

:15:35.:15:37.

development, I was very much involved in some of those projects

:15:38.:15:45.

and in particular the interchange. The member will also know that the

:15:46.:15:50.

council has declared the corridor as an air quality management area from

:15:51.:15:55.

York Street to the city boundary. This area carries approximately

:15:56.:16:00.

100,000 vehicles per day. The development of the interchange

:16:01.:16:03.

project is one of the principal measures in reducing transport

:16:04.:16:07.

emissions along the West Link corridor and is a range of measures

:16:08.:16:12.

that DFI has agreed with the council to include in their air quality

:16:13.:16:16.

action plan. It is therefore vitally important that this project goes

:16:17.:16:22.

ahead. She may be aware that it was reported last week that one of the

:16:23.:16:26.

quality monitors was not working and has not been for some time. I

:16:27.:16:32.

understand it is the council's responsibility to replace that but

:16:33.:16:36.

was the Department where it was not working and whose responsibility is

:16:37.:16:42.

it to request a replacement? Yes, I am aware of that, as I was aware of

:16:43.:16:47.

the Abbey issue. That has now been diffused since March this year and

:16:48.:16:53.

the reason why it has not been replaced is due to the replacement

:16:54.:16:59.

of parts. They are in the process of procuring a new monitor and I

:17:00.:17:04.

understand that they are still continuing to monitor pollution but

:17:05.:17:07.

are using a different method in order to do so.

:17:08.:17:09.

Michelle McIlveen on the challenge of monitoring air

:17:10.:17:10.

A Sinn Fein motion calling for increased awareness of human

:17:11.:17:14.

rights prompted scorn from some unionist quarters in the Chamber.

:17:15.:17:16.

Jim Allister and the DUP refused to support the motion,

:17:17.:17:19.

saying it was hypocritical, but there were also calls

:17:20.:17:21.

on the First Minister to raise human rights on her visit to China.

:17:22.:17:24.

First, here's Claire Bailey with her list of human rights

:17:25.:17:26.

A Bill of Rights, termination of pregnancy, Irish language

:17:27.:17:44.

protection, promotion of Ulster Scots, issues but Irish travellers

:17:45.:17:50.

including educational attainment and housing, lack of involvement by the

:17:51.:17:57.

Northern Ireland executive, poverty, conflict and legacy issues. This is

:17:58.:18:04.

critical, not least given the ongoing Supreme Court challenge that

:18:05.:18:09.

started at 11am. There is a binding international treaty between the

:18:10.:18:12.

British and Irish governments and the outworking of that treaty is the

:18:13.:18:17.

Corporation of the European Convention on human rights and the

:18:18.:18:22.

Human Rights Act. But I find particularly hard to swallow but

:18:23.:18:25.

this motion is we have Sinn Fein tabling a motion is we have Sinn

:18:26.:18:29.

Fein tabling motions human rights. But some in their party have denied

:18:30.:18:33.

the very right of life to many of the years. I spoke with a man just

:18:34.:18:39.

last week, a former bus driver, who was targeted by the IRA, a man who

:18:40.:18:43.

for many years lived in fear, a man whose family were massively affected

:18:44.:18:49.

by it and are still affected. I often think of families robbed of a

:18:50.:18:54.

loved one at the hand of terrorism here in Northern Ireland. What if

:18:55.:18:57.

violation of their human rights and those victims' rights to life. I

:18:58.:19:05.

oppose this motion. The declaration in 1914 eight was a milestone and

:19:06.:19:10.

the first article is all human beings are born free and equal in

:19:11.:19:14.

dignity and rights. And we all know and we could get into a slapping

:19:15.:19:19.

match across the floor that our own recent chequered past has not lived

:19:20.:19:25.

up to Article one, and neither have we lived up to article three, the

:19:26.:19:32.

right to life. But I see no point in trading insults around the place

:19:33.:19:36.

because again I go back to the fact that I believe this is something

:19:37.:19:41.

that we should be celebrating. Does the member hope like me that in

:19:42.:19:45.

protecting the Human Rights Act that the First Minister will raise human

:19:46.:19:49.

rights in China during her visit this week? I sincerely hope that

:19:50.:19:59.

whatever opportunities any minister or representative of this Assembly

:20:00.:20:04.

has, when they visit states who are not perhaps those which are fully

:20:05.:20:08.

subscribed to international standards on human rights, and we

:20:09.:20:12.

know that China is not, in those circumstances, I hope and trust and

:20:13.:20:16.

we should ask the question of our First Minister, has she taken the

:20:17.:20:20.

opportunity to raise the issue of human rights? Some who to this day

:20:21.:20:26.

have no apology to make for their own actions or the actions of their

:20:27.:20:35.

comrades in delivering murder and denying the fundamental right to

:20:36.:20:40.

life have the audacity to come to this House and to cloak themselves

:20:41.:20:47.

in the language of human rights! This Assembly has the ability to

:20:48.:20:52.

pass legislation relating to quality on human rights, equality and human

:20:53.:20:56.

rights legislation has been passed in Britain, Scotland and 26

:20:57.:21:01.

counties. How do we ensure that the people in the north do not have

:21:02.:21:04.

lesser rights than those other jurisdictions?

:21:05.:21:06.

Sinn Fein's Cathal Boylan winding up the debate on that

:21:07.:21:08.

motion, which was passed despite DUP opposition.

:21:09.:21:10.

Next to water charges and the Executive may have committed

:21:11.:21:12.

to carrying the cost for domestic users but the meters that might some

:21:13.:21:16.

day be used to calculate them have been installed

:21:17.:21:18.

Well, not any more, says the Infrastructure Minister.

:21:19.:21:26.

The regulations I'm bringing forward the date removed the requirement of

:21:27.:21:33.

water meters in domestic properties connecting for the first time the

:21:34.:21:38.

public water supply. The practice of installing meters currently cost the

:21:39.:21:42.

public purse ?200,000 per year and given that the meters are not used,

:21:43.:21:47.

this is a new country expense and one which cannot be sustained in the

:21:48.:21:50.

current financial climate. The Assembly will be aware of the

:21:51.:21:55.

commitment of this executive not to bring in water charges. That is the

:21:56.:21:58.

intention of this executive to bear the cost of water charges on behalf

:21:59.:22:05.

of domestic customers for the next five years. The requirement to

:22:06.:22:10.

install water meters for future connections may be required at a

:22:11.:22:15.

later date. It is for this reason that this meeting of the 16th of

:22:16.:22:20.

November, the committee considered a row and offered no objections to the

:22:21.:22:26.

rule. They're been poured a dozen water meters installed, costing the

:22:27.:22:31.

taxpayer here in excess of ?30 million. These regulations make

:22:32.:22:35.

uncomfortable reading, especially for the underprivileged families who

:22:36.:22:38.

are struggling to survive to pay bills and make ends meet, who were

:22:39.:22:42.

worried about this train coming down the track and the uncertainty around

:22:43.:22:46.

whether or not water meters or water charges would be applied. The SDLP

:22:47.:22:52.

has always been and will continue to be completely oppose to water

:22:53.:22:57.

charges for domestic properties. We believe the regional rate includes

:22:58.:23:01.

such charges and we do not need any additional charges for families. We

:23:02.:23:04.

have all talked about the lack of money that is available for hospital

:23:05.:23:09.

waiting lists, the lack of money available to pay for life extending

:23:10.:23:13.

drugs for people with cancer, the lack of money available for children

:23:14.:23:19.

with special education needs. So is say very clearly that the money

:23:20.:23:25.

spent out of our grant from Westminster to go forward to pay for

:23:26.:23:28.

water is the very money that we should be using to pay for those

:23:29.:23:33.

essential services. I believe that those who can afford to pay should

:23:34.:23:37.

and every single person in this House can afford to pay but we are

:23:38.:23:41.

protecting them by not bringing forward an open and transparent

:23:42.:23:45.

debate on water charging. The number of countries that this wastage of 13

:23:46.:23:54.

million, the actual figure is 1.3 million, so you might want to look

:23:55.:24:02.

at your figures close again. Also, the factors Shin Hain is following

:24:03.:24:05.

the SDLP in the example is finally doing the right thing, it was all

:24:06.:24:11.

parted walked away from the Executive. But the SDLP decided to

:24:12.:24:19.

otherwise. Just for clarity, no meters have been installed since the

:24:20.:24:23.

6th of July in domestic properties and this has saved ?100,000. So when

:24:24.:24:30.

Ms Armstrong was about wasting money, this is public money we have

:24:31.:24:35.

actually saved and again the Alliance Party strengthen the points

:24:36.:24:39.

raised here today. Something that has been rejected by the people as

:24:40.:24:45.

we have seen with their recent performance. People do not want

:24:46.:24:48.

water charges and I think that is what the Executive will stand for.

:24:49.:24:51.

Chris Hazzard making it very clear that he and his party remain

:24:52.:24:54.

opposed to the introduction of domestic water charges.

:24:55.:24:55.

And David McCann's here for a final word.

:24:56.:24:57.

No change in Sinn Fein's position, then, but were you expecting this

:24:58.:25:00.

Again, the Irish News had been reporting on water meters installed

:25:01.:25:13.

and it was pretty embarrassing for the party so Chris Hazard is finally

:25:14.:25:18.

drawing the line and about. And demonstrating the fact that what

:25:19.:25:22.

Sinn Fein can do, this matches their narrative in the south where they

:25:23.:25:26.

are trying to get water charges down there so this gives them a selling

:25:27.:25:29.

point in the south and it goes to show they are making key points of

:25:30.:25:30.

delivery for themselves. What about the Alliance point that,

:25:31.:25:33.

at the very least, an open and honest conversation about water

:25:34.:25:36.

charges needs to take place? If you don't have enough money to

:25:37.:25:51.

education and health, you need to talk about revenue raising. It is a

:25:52.:25:56.

well-made point because budgets will get tighter and tighter so we should

:25:57.:25:59.

at least have the conversation about it and others said that as a prickly

:26:00.:26:02.

issue of the Sinn Fein and the DUP but I don't think there is any harm

:26:03.:26:08.

in having the conversation. The Alliance Party willing to have that

:26:09.:26:12.

conversation and possibly to the detriment of votes.

:26:13.:26:13.

And David Ford is moving his Private Members' Bill

:26:14.:26:16.

on abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality tomorrow.

:26:17.:26:23.

This is something that David Ford tried to tackle whilst he was

:26:24.:26:28.

Justice Minister. This is unfinished business for the Alliance Party.

:26:29.:26:34.

They have made this a priority issue in this mandate for the party. It

:26:35.:26:38.

will be an interesting debate and the working group supposed to

:26:39.:26:41.

report, we still do not know when that will happen yet. It will be

:26:42.:26:46.

very interesting seeing table Ford table that is a private member but

:26:47.:26:53.

it will be a controversial debate because they use a very fixed. The

:26:54.:27:00.

abortion debate is polarising. The recommendations from what I can see

:27:01.:27:05.

seem relatively sensible but again, these debates can go off on a

:27:06.:27:09.

tangent I hope again that we can get some good debates in the last debate

:27:10.:27:12.

we had, we had really measured examples.

:27:13.:27:14.

And finally, tributes were paid to Austin Hunter by Members

:27:15.:27:18.

The former BBC journalist and News Letter editor was killed

:27:19.:27:22.

at the weekend in a road accident in Bahrain.

:27:23.:27:25.

The Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy took time

:27:26.:27:27.

during the debate on human rights to pay this tribute to Mr Hunter.

:27:28.:27:34.

It is right I think that we refer to one such person who cared deeply

:27:35.:27:45.

about human rights, Austin Hunter, who very tragically died over the

:27:46.:27:51.

weekend. Austin Hunter was one of the outstanding broadcasters and

:27:52.:27:54.

journalists of his generation but he was also a man of great humanity and

:27:55.:28:01.

compassion who covered through his professional career some of the

:28:02.:28:05.

worst atrocities of the troubles but he did so with care and respect to

:28:06.:28:10.

those most deeply affected and with great courtesy. It is clear from the

:28:11.:28:15.

very many tributes there had been received from the political and

:28:16.:28:19.

media world Austin was a man of great integrity and highly respected

:28:20.:28:22.

by all who came into contact with him and I'm sure the whole house

:28:23.:28:25.

will join me in offering their present awards to the family at this

:28:26.:28:27.

time. The Communities Minister,

:28:28.:28:28.

Paul Givan, with his tribute to Austin Hunter, who died

:28:29.:28:30.

at the weekend. That's it for now but there'll be

:28:31.:28:32.

more of the same tomorrow. Until then, from everyone

:28:33.:28:36.

in the team, goodnight.

:28:37.:28:43.

A political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Mark Carruthers is the guide through the corridors of power at Stormont, and is joined by key people - from decision makers to opinion formers - to make the experience enlightening and entertaining.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS