06/02/2012 Stormont Today


06/02/2012

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


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 06/02/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Welcome to Stormont Today. As the Queen looks back on 60 years on the

:00:30.:00:35.

throne, she can rest assured that there were a kind words for most of

:00:35.:00:39.

the house. I am convinced that everybody in

:00:39.:00:44.

Northern Ireland will respect be significant role she has played

:00:44.:00:52.

over such a long period of time. part of the Republican tradition

:00:52.:01:00.

and I represent, I wish to acknowledge the role of the Queen.

:01:00.:01:06.

Our Northern Irish firms being smart -- snubbed for wards?

:01:06.:01:13.

All of the judges are from the public a violent -- the Republic of

:01:13.:01:19.

Ireland. With me throughout tonight, heather

:01:19.:01:25.

Crawford of the world carriage of speech therapists. -- and Royal

:01:25.:01:32.

College of Speech therapists. Ian Paisley is in intensive care at

:01:32.:01:38.

the Ulster Hospital. At the former First Minister and long-term leader

:01:38.:01:45.

of the DUP was admitted to A&E yesterday. His wife, Baroness

:01:45.:01:50.

Paisley, has described it as a difficult time. It has been the

:01:50.:01:55.

talk of Stormont today. Whilst the politicians have been getting on

:01:55.:02:02.

with the business on their diary, all of the talk has not been about

:02:02.:02:07.

-- has been about the former First Minister. He is in intensive care,

:02:07.:02:11.

it is said it might be a heart issue but we don't have any more

:02:11.:02:17.

details. It is not the first time he has been ill. If you think back

:02:17.:02:22.

to the political negotiations that led up to the power-sharing deal

:02:22.:02:26.

between the DUP and Sinn Fein, Dr Paisley was involved in some of

:02:27.:02:32.

those negotiations in Kent. He had a period where he disappeared from

:02:32.:02:36.

view for a while and later he revealed that he had been, as he

:02:36.:02:43.

put it, walking in death's shadow. Last year it was confirmed that he

:02:43.:02:47.

had been fitted with a heart pacemaker after falling ill in the

:02:47.:02:52.

House of Lords, where he now sits, having given up his Westminster

:02:52.:03:00.

seat for North Antrim. Concern from well beyond the DUP today. It was

:03:00.:03:06.

obviously mentioned in the DUP's statement and prayers were said for

:03:06.:03:10.

the former party leader but of course over the last remarkable

:03:10.:03:14.

five or six years he has made friendships and relationships

:03:14.:03:18.

beyond the ranks of the DUP and other people are hoping for the

:03:18.:03:22.

best tonight. Not wanting to say too much because they want to see

:03:22.:03:30.

how things develop at a hospital. Our local -- are local business --

:03:30.:03:34.

business is losing out in a local ward programme? Eileen Foster has

:03:34.:03:42.

her suspicions, has she revealed at Question Time. Here is a question

:03:42.:03:46.

on the sexual orientation strategy which Peter Robinson batted to his

:03:46.:03:52.

junior minister. As I have said in previous answers, it is our

:03:52.:03:59.

intention to publish a sexual orientation strategy during 2012.

:03:59.:04:04.

Stakeholders and organisations from this sector will be encouraged to

:04:04.:04:11.

contribute to the consultation process. I would like to thank the

:04:11.:04:16.

junior minister for his answer. It is important that it will be

:04:16.:04:26.
:04:26.:04:26.

published this coming year. Candour junior minister advise that it will

:04:26.:04:34.

be revised in line with the programme drafted by five bodies? -

:04:34.:04:44.
:04:44.:04:46.

- can the junior minister. development of that, it is obvious

:04:46.:04:55.

the five-party matter and we are waiting for responses from some of

:04:55.:05:01.

the parties. But everybody will have the opportunity to contribute.

:05:01.:05:07.

Can I ask the junior minister what is their position on civil

:05:07.:05:16.

partnerships and adoption be gay couples? Civil partnerships are the

:05:16.:05:20.

responsibility of finance and personnel. In relation to adoption,

:05:20.:05:25.

it is my understand and that the judicial review of the existing

:05:25.:05:35.
:05:35.:05:35.

adoption policy is on going. -- my understanding. Can I ask him

:05:35.:05:38.

whether it in the sexual orientation strategy there will be

:05:38.:05:43.

any mention of gay marriage and has any progress being made in

:05:43.:05:50.

providing full and equal rights to gay couples? The questions in

:05:50.:05:55.

relation to those are the subject of much discussion and have been in

:05:55.:06:00.

the media over recent weeks. It is not an issue that is under current

:06:00.:06:06.

consideration. On to the enterprise minister, who was in strident form.

:06:06.:06:16.

Shoot fired a warning shot to the bank's. -- she fired. Small and

:06:16.:06:20.

medium-sized businesses are being continually pressed in relation to

:06:20.:06:25.

access to finance and banks and even those who have a banking

:06:25.:06:30.

relationship and I use the term relationship very loosely, because

:06:30.:06:35.

some of the banks at present are bearing down very heavily on some

:06:35.:06:39.

of our companies and I think it is a matter that everybody in this

:06:39.:06:43.

House should be very concerned about. I say to the banks that if

:06:43.:06:47.

you put businesses that are trying to get through difficult times out

:06:47.:06:52.

of future then in the future you will not gain finance from those

:06:52.:06:58.

businesses and the consequent job losses that will occur and our

:06:58.:07:04.

economy will not be able to sustain it. The banks have to work with the

:07:04.:07:09.

rest of us to take our economy through very difficult times. Short

:07:09.:07:15.

term measures are not going to help in the medium to longer term.

:07:15.:07:19.

next finance minister will be Simon Hamilton and he wanted to know what

:07:19.:07:27.

the minister thought of an All- Ireland awards scheme. Northern

:07:27.:07:37.
:07:37.:07:44.

Ireland does not have a monopoly on innovation. Food producers say that

:07:44.:07:50.

there is an increasingly protectionist stance. I am hugely

:07:50.:07:55.

disappointed that there is only one Northern Ireland company

:07:55.:07:59.

shortlisted. As I understand it, this is not a new phenomenon. When

:07:59.:08:04.

I looked into this matter there were only two listed last year.

:08:05.:08:09.

There is a pattern here and I have to ask why this is the case. When I

:08:09.:08:18.

asked about who was judging these awards, apart from a few, all of

:08:18.:08:23.

the judges were from the Republic of Ireland. This causes me great

:08:23.:08:31.

concern and it is something I am writing to the new chairman about.

:08:31.:08:38.

I was astonished about the nomination, giving what I said

:08:38.:08:43.

about the protectionist prices in relation to Northern Ireland food.

:08:43.:08:52.

I am taking this up with the new chair and the chief Executive.

:08:52.:08:56.

Could I thank the Minister for her answer in relation to this question.

:08:56.:09:00.

I would also share your disappointment that there are not

:09:00.:09:08.

more Northern Ireland firms being nominated to the short list, but

:09:08.:09:16.

the minister is not in any way, I would think, the value of having

:09:16.:09:20.

such competitions, particularly for innovations, which provide an

:09:20.:09:26.

excellent basis for the development of industry, both north and south.

:09:26.:09:33.

Would the Minister agree? Certainly a welcome any competition that

:09:33.:09:37.

encourages and it -- innovation but surely the chair of the committee

:09:37.:09:41.

must be concerned that only one of our companies have been put forward

:09:41.:09:47.

into the short list for this award. I have task, why is this the case?

:09:47.:09:53.

Is at the judging panel, is it the media partner, the Irish Times?

:09:53.:09:56.

What is the problem in relation to getting more companies from

:09:56.:10:02.

Northern Ireland? The previous question about the important --

:10:02.:10:07.

importance of innovation, it is massively important for our

:10:07.:10:11.

economic development to continue to encourage companies and they get

:10:11.:10:15.

encouraged by short lists and all those things. The education

:10:15.:10:22.

minister has set out his plans to help children with special needs in

:10:22.:10:26.

schools. Heather Crawford, what is your take on the proposals he has

:10:26.:10:33.

outlined? The proposals are actually quite confusing for us as

:10:33.:10:39.

professionals in the field because they are wide and varied. I think

:10:39.:10:44.

there are lot of positives include -- in them, inclusion being one,

:10:44.:10:50.

support for children with all difficulties in schools being

:10:50.:10:56.

another, the plan to include parents' health, that is all very

:10:56.:11:03.

positive, but what I think we would say is lacking is confirmation that

:11:03.:11:07.

it is going to work absolutely smoothly and effectively for the

:11:07.:11:12.

people concerned. There is going to be a huge amount of responsibility

:11:13.:11:16.

put into individual schools. Individual school principles will

:11:16.:11:21.

have to look at those children with special needs in their schools,

:11:21.:11:28.

devolve their budgets, and they have a total budget for all of the

:11:29.:11:31.

children in the schools and a certain amount will be ring-fenced

:11:31.:11:40.

for children with special needs. How do you prioritise to get the

:11:40.:11:48.

priority in terms of money? We have particular concerns about hidden --

:11:48.:11:54.

be hidden disability of speech and communication problems. I heard on

:11:54.:11:59.

Radio Ulster this morning about visual disabilities where, if you

:11:59.:12:03.

can see there is something wrong with somebody, that can be

:12:03.:12:07.

addressed, but for children with difficulties with speech and

:12:07.:12:10.

language and particularly the social use of those things, unless

:12:10.:12:15.

you're have learnt to recognise those, you might not see them. --

:12:15.:12:22.

unless you have learnt. It can have an impact not just on school life,

:12:22.:12:25.

the social life, but long-term effects on behaviour and social

:12:25.:12:31.

interaction. Thank you. Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Queen

:12:31.:12:37.

as ceding to the throne when her father, George VI, died in his

:12:37.:12:41.

sleep. Members today were keen to pay their tributes, with a

:12:41.:12:45.

representative of each party offering congratulations. Well, not

:12:45.:12:54.

all parties. The Queen's public life has spanned that of 12 prime

:12:54.:12:59.

ministers in the UK and 140 prime ministers in the Commonwealth rain

:13:00.:13:09.
:13:10.:13:10.

-- realms. It has included six prime ministers, 3 First Ministers

:13:10.:13:17.

and 17 secretaries of state. In Northern Ireland there are

:13:17.:13:23.

different perspectives of royalty but I am convinced that everybody

:13:23.:13:29.

in Northern Ireland will respect the significant role played by her

:13:29.:13:34.

Majesty the Queen a lot -- such a long period of time, will recognise

:13:34.:13:41.

the many achievements that she has, not least her recent visit to the

:13:41.:13:45.

Republic of Ireland and the ceiling of better relationships between our

:13:45.:13:54.

two countries. I believe that the Queen's visit to the Republic of

:13:54.:14:00.

Ireland last year signalled new relationships for two nations that

:14:00.:14:04.

are so close geographically but maybe so far apart in other

:14:04.:14:11.

circumstances. I welcome that moved and that visit. It may encourage

:14:11.:14:16.

the Republic of Ireland to look good possibilities to rejoin the

:14:16.:14:26.
:14:26.:14:34.

My non-violent republican tradition aspires to and works well a

:14:34.:14:39.

republican model of government. My political tradition understands

:14:39.:14:44.

there are a large number of people in Northern Ireland who value the

:14:44.:14:49.

link with Britain, the monarchy and the contribution of Queen Elizabeth

:14:49.:14:56.

the second. We acknowledge that and respected. The Alliance Party

:14:56.:15:01.

leader and the Davids voiced their tributes but nothing from the Green

:15:01.:15:06.

Party or the other Green Party, Sinn Fein. The Justice Minister

:15:06.:15:09.

David Ford promises to cut the time young people wait before their

:15:09.:15:14.

cases come to court. Young offenders often wait as long as a

:15:14.:15:19.

year. The minister told me what will change. Since I became

:15:19.:15:24.

Minister we have seen work across the agencies to speed up justice,

:15:24.:15:29.

some improvements and other things have not improved. We now need a

:15:29.:15:33.

specific time limit to underpin the good work elsewhere and inshore

:15:33.:15:40.

young people are in court when they can remember what they have done

:15:40.:15:45.

and have not reoffend. What will the time limit be? I have asked the

:15:45.:15:49.

board to look at the detail and expect a report in the near future.

:15:49.:15:54.

The board brings together the justice agencies say they will make

:15:54.:15:59.

a formal recommendations which I would take to the committee as we

:15:59.:16:04.

look at what we can do. I am determined to see progress in the

:16:04.:16:09.

next few years and the lifetime of the Assembly. What about adults,

:16:09.:16:13.

many people are spending lengthy periods in remand. We need to look

:16:14.:16:19.

at adults but the key issue from the reports I see is the youth

:16:19.:16:23.

court because there is a problem with young offenders. If we can

:16:23.:16:27.

deal with that and learn the lessons I hope we will move on to

:16:27.:16:32.

address the issues for adults as well. What time, you have to put it

:16:32.:16:38.

out to consultation but are you thinking of 100 days? At the moment,

:16:38.:16:43.

I am open to see what the consultation produces. That is a

:16:43.:16:47.

figure which applies in other jurisdictions but we need something

:16:47.:16:54.

challenging and realistic. If the air in either direction they could

:16:54.:16:59.

be progress. Another concern about the special educational needs has

:16:59.:17:02.

been schools would have the money to spend but there doesn't seem to

:17:02.:17:08.

be any compulsion expenditure on special educational needs. That is

:17:08.:17:14.

very important and we would want to see some levels of accountability

:17:14.:17:20.

put in place if there is a budget to schools to be spent on children

:17:20.:17:25.

with special needs, there must be assurances the money is spent and

:17:25.:17:29.

targeted towards those children. That will require training and

:17:29.:17:34.

monitoring. And a collaborative approach between schools and

:17:34.:17:39.

agencies. The consultation has taken a long period and 90% of

:17:39.:17:44.

people were not happy with the proposals. It is a difficult

:17:44.:17:49.

situation, you want people to comment but it appears the views

:17:49.:17:59.

are ignored. Well, I think that we would be saying there were many

:17:59.:18:03.

responses to the consultation, I understand from colleagues in

:18:03.:18:09.

education they have had many responses. As we understand it, the

:18:09.:18:13.

document lists some of the responses but not all of them have

:18:13.:18:20.

been taken on board. Again, we are hearing that parents have concerns

:18:20.:18:23.

about how they will be guaranteed the budget will go directly to

:18:23.:18:28.

children. The high level of youth unemployment continues to worry

:18:29.:18:33.

members and it was on the agenda today. A discussion on widening

:18:33.:18:42.

access to education maintenance allowance. The words neat macro is

:18:42.:18:46.

not the most attractive of words. It is better than the alternative

:18:47.:18:54.

which is zeros. It is an issue that we have to deal with. The cost of

:18:54.:18:59.

youth unemployment in Northern Ireland alone is someone in the

:18:59.:19:03.

region of �250 million. Some young people have seen emigration as the

:19:03.:19:08.

only option while others have disengaged from education and

:19:08.:19:12.

training and also society. In the current economic climate where they

:19:12.:19:16.

are so few jobs for young school leavers we must help and encourage

:19:17.:19:22.

students to stay on and get the best education available. The

:19:22.:19:29.

statistics show 87% of young people in full-time education are in

:19:29.:19:33.

receipt of the allowance which proves the need for the allowance.

:19:33.:19:38.

Our party has always argued that access to education is a right not

:19:38.:19:42.

a privilege. It should be based on the ability to learn and develop

:19:42.:19:48.

not the ability to pay. I did not think the government should be

:19:48.:19:52.

looking to simply give young people checks for getting involved in

:19:52.:19:59.

education to attend college and school. To do that is to create a

:19:59.:20:03.

culture almost this says as long as you turn up and clock in you

:20:03.:20:08.

receive a payment irrespective of whether you go to learn or not. It

:20:08.:20:15.

is something to be cognisant of. Ali serious about this issue

:20:15.:20:19.

because on the information we have gathered to date in the absence of

:20:19.:20:24.

tracking facilities, and in the urgency that seems to have attended

:20:24.:20:28.

any investigation of how this programme could be improved, we

:20:28.:20:35.

seem to be demonstrating an almost horizontal attitude rather than a

:20:35.:20:42.

proactive one. And that, I think, is a tragedy for the young people

:20:42.:20:50.

in this country many of whom are struggling with eight morale issue

:20:50.:20:56.

about how they are ever going to make it in society and a society

:20:56.:21:02.

dares do what it can, it cannot spoon-feed a society but it does no

:21:02.:21:08.

to do what it can to help young people into employment and E M A

:21:08.:21:13.

may be working, the truth is we do not adequately know because we do

:21:13.:21:18.

not track its implementation. support can and should be better

:21:18.:21:24.

targeted. Any expansion of the scheme needs to be governed by

:21:24.:21:31.

affordability. There is pressure on the existing budgets due to the

:21:31.:21:36.

economic downturn. The forthcoming review and any additional savings

:21:36.:21:40.

realised from this are linked to the bass lines of departmental

:21:40.:21:45.

budgets. However, if members are prepared to be more radical in the

:21:45.:21:53.

nature of reform then further savings can be made. I would like

:21:53.:21:56.

to see those savings redirected into other vehicles to support from

:21:56.:22:02.

people. How important in speech and therapy turns his early

:22:02.:22:07.

intervention to get speech improved? Well, the earlier we can

:22:07.:22:11.

intervene with young children with speech language and communication

:22:11.:22:15.

problems the better because speech and language is the most important

:22:15.:22:21.

development scale we have to learn. We do know that one in seven

:22:21.:22:25.

children in primary school will have problems, we want to avoid

:22:26.:22:29.

that and get into the nursery schools and pre-school places and

:22:30.:22:37.

this report does talk about the place is in pre-school settings, we

:22:37.:22:45.

would like to work collaboratively to develop the most effective

:22:45.:22:47.

communicative environment the children will offer right in and

:22:47.:22:51.

for those children who cannot understand or pay attention we need

:22:51.:22:57.

to put in strategies to change the way we communicate to facilitate

:22:57.:23:01.

more effective communication skills and teach them how to communicate,

:23:01.:23:07.

lots of children learn those naturally but up to 50% in some

:23:07.:23:14.

areas do not. Did you know how healthy the health service is?

:23:14.:23:18.

Apparently the best in the world in many areas. That is what the

:23:18.:23:23.

British Medical Association has been telling MLAs. It came in an

:23:23.:23:27.

answer to the health committee. know it has exercised the committee

:23:27.:23:34.

in the past. 10.5 million consultations a year we provide in

:23:34.:23:43.

Northern Ireland, 30% above the average. 20 million tests, 25

:23:43.:23:48.

million prescriptions, that is what we provide, above what everybody

:23:49.:23:58.
:23:59.:23:59.

else provides. I refer you to the Commonwealth report, just published,

:23:59.:24:04.

shows the best access same day and next day access in the world is

:24:04.:24:10.

here, 79% in the UK and we are better than the UK average. 79% of

:24:10.:24:16.

patients get same day or next day access. The lowest percentage the

:24:16.:24:23.

waited six days or more is 2%, these are facts. This is data. Out

:24:23.:24:27.

of hours actress, best in the world, reviews, best in the world,

:24:27.:24:32.

communication with patients best in the world. I will not bore you.

:24:32.:24:42.
:24:42.:24:50.

it fair to say you are selling it, is there a fair hearing? We had

:24:50.:24:57.

meetings with members but there has been sufficient consultation. We

:24:57.:25:01.

felt they should have been wider consultation. We put our views

:25:01.:25:09.

forward. We have not had the opportunity to critique that final

:25:09.:25:13.

report and give feedback and a professional opinion. Members of

:25:13.:25:20.

the panel met with GPs and elements of GP fraternity and we did not

:25:20.:25:24.

deny opportunities to meet with anyone. We responded to any request

:25:24.:25:31.

made to us and I can say that after the clinical meetings there was

:25:31.:25:36.

general practice involved in all the meetings which were handled and

:25:36.:25:41.

sponsored by some of the review team. We also had specific meetings

:25:41.:25:50.

in Belfast where we had GPS and doctors to discuss issues that were

:25:50.:25:54.

pertinent as far as they were concerned. Then maybe some

:25:54.:25:59.

individuals that would have liked more contact and engagement but we

:25:59.:26:02.

can arrange for continued engagement. That is where we would

:26:02.:26:12.
:26:12.:26:12.

would be. Regarding... I do not agree. Some individuals, that is

:26:13.:26:19.

dismissive. The comments came from the chair of the practitioners, it

:26:19.:26:26.

is not about a disgruntled doctor. It was very clear... I met the

:26:26.:26:30.

chair and he seemed entirely satisfied with the meeting I had

:26:30.:26:36.

and it no point did he ask or request further meetings. I met

:26:36.:26:39.

with the BMA and other representatives and they asked for

:26:39.:26:42.

further meetings and they were arranged. Had there been asked for

:26:42.:26:45.

further meetings I would have arranged it. You may have spotted

:26:45.:26:52.

the crutches, she has been hobbling around for two weeks and her

:26:52.:26:57.

committee colleagues were curious as to what happened. What happened,

:26:57.:27:03.

I fell down the stairs. I did, a fortnight ago. I broke a leg but I

:27:03.:27:09.

had a good pair of boots. I did not realise it was broken. So, I got

:27:09.:27:15.

the cast. It happened in Dublin. it happened in -- at home I would

:27:16.:27:24.

not have to drive. I got the cast on and eventually I went in

:27:24.:27:28.

Thursday and was plastered down to the knee. There was her last

:27:28.:27:33.

committee meeting. She has stood down. I think she will be laid up

:27:33.:27:40.

for a few weeks. In terms of how we go forward with

:27:40.:27:45.

the strategy and in a general sense, do we need to set targets for

:27:45.:27:48.

schools to say you need to reach this level and to ensure children

:27:49.:27:54.

get the help they need? I think to reassure parents, and to be a

:27:54.:28:00.

support to teachers and principles, we need to set out what it is we

:28:00.:28:04.

need to achieve with children within schools. That will require

:28:04.:28:09.

collaboration between all parties and an agreed set of how we do it,

:28:09.:28:14.

what we do, and how we know we make a difference. Does the document we

:28:14.:28:20.

have been talking about, does that reassurance? There is lots of

:28:20.:28:23.

examples of good practice across Northern Ireland, good

:28:23.:28:26.

collaborative practice between health and education and we need to

:28:27.:28:31.

A political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Tara Mills 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