06/12/2016 Stormont Today


06/12/2016

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 06/12/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

There were sharp divisions, as expected, in the chamber today

:00:25.:00:28.

as Members debated the whys and wherefores of the

:00:29.:00:30.

And, in the final day of scheduled business before Christmas,

:00:31.:00:36.

the House also discussed teachers' pay, food hygiene standards

:00:37.:00:38.

Strong opinions and fierce debate as the Social Investment Fund

:00:39.:00:46.

The Social Investment Fund is marred in controversy. The public don't

:00:47.:00:57.

don't have trust or confidence in its operation. SIF has been doing

:00:58.:01:02.

wonderful work out there and it's been targeted.

:01:03.:01:04.

The Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton, gets

:01:05.:01:05.

a jab in against one of the DUP's foremost tormenters.

:01:06.:01:08.

I didn't see him referring to it as squander whenever he wrote to me a

:01:09.:01:14.

few weeks ago pleading for a constituent of his to be included in

:01:15.:01:16.

the scheme. Joining me with his thoughts

:01:17.:01:19.

on today's developments is the News Letter's political

:01:20.:01:21.

editor, Sam McBride. The Executive's troubled

:01:22.:01:31.

Social Investment Fund has been making headlines for several months

:01:32.:01:37.

now - not because of its community work, but because of the UDA leader,

:01:38.:01:40.

Dee Stitt, who's the Chief Executive of Charter NI, which has received

:01:41.:01:43.

almost ?2 million from the fund. Today, the Assembly rejected a call

:01:44.:01:46.

from the Alliance Party for an independent review

:01:47.:01:48.

of the fund during a debate Here's Stewart Dickson

:01:49.:01:51.

outlining his concerns. The overarching question is whether

:01:52.:02:01.

the stated objectives of the Social Investment Fund worthy as they

:02:02.:02:08.

maybe, could be more efficientively and effectively achieved through

:02:09.:02:11.

other ease means and whether the Social Investment Fund is a

:02:12.:02:17.

worthwhile use of public money. It's been characterised by secrecy and

:02:18.:02:21.

cronyism. Indeed, in at least one respect the ongoing association of

:02:22.:02:27.

DUP representatives, including the First Minister, with a current

:02:28.:02:36.

paramilitary has undermined the executive committee. I have been on

:02:37.:02:40.

record time and time again recognising and acknowledging there

:02:41.:02:43.

are good organisations with good individuals doing great work. We are

:02:44.:02:47.

supportive of these projects. Our issue is not with them, it is with

:02:48.:02:53.

the process. We are on record, as far as back as 2011, raising

:02:54.:02:57.

concerns about this process and the continual failure by the First

:02:58.:03:01.

Minister and the Deputy First Minister to address these concerns

:03:02.:03:05.

left our members in all but one of the steering groups forced with no

:03:06.:03:12.

option but to resign. The Social Investment Fund is marred in

:03:13.:03:15.

controversy. The public don't have confidence or trust in its

:03:16.:03:19.

operation. I'm rising to oppose the motion for a up in of reasons. The

:03:20.:03:23.

first of these reasons is that, you know, unlike my colleague to the

:03:24.:03:26.

left, I can't agree with the assumption about deep public concern

:03:27.:03:30.

out there. I do get the opposition have a role to fulfil and they need

:03:31.:03:36.

to raise issues to make themselves relevant and they tried tried to use

:03:37.:03:39.

this issue to do. So I've listened to them and asked the questions,

:03:40.:03:47.

make their points and table their debates like a a boxing trying to

:03:48.:03:52.

land his knockout punch. I have listened to answers from ministers

:03:53.:03:55.

who responded to this with cold, hard facts. We are not criticising

:03:56.:04:02.

the efforts of those at local community level. Sorry, what we are

:04:03.:04:13.

saying is that we have legitimate concerns around the control

:04:14.:04:24.

exercised by the funding. As someone who sat on the Southern Zone. Would

:04:25.:04:29.

the member agree that his colleague sat on that very Board, screw

:04:30.:04:34.

niedsed everything and was very, very content with the projects that

:04:35.:04:39.

went forward from the Southern Zone? The member has an extra minute.

:04:40.:04:45.

Clearly the member is in winter wonderful line if she thinks that

:04:46.:04:49.

any representative from the Ulster unionist party would do otherwise.

:04:50.:04:53.

At community level that is what supporting communities is about. I

:04:54.:04:59.

don't stand here to defend the Social Investment Fund I stand here

:05:00.:05:08.

today to commend. It I hope that the Executive Office has the will

:05:09.:05:12.

because I think SIF has been doing wonderful work there. It has been

:05:13.:05:14.

targeted by a small number of people who have went after one individual

:05:15.:05:19.

who made a stupid and flip pant remark which means that everybody

:05:20.:05:23.

who has benefitted from SIF are now the targets of individuals in this

:05:24.:05:28.

chamber who acting out of political interests, not in the public

:05:29.:05:32.

interest in this instance. What we heard from the are are, who didn't

:05:33.:05:36.

want to take interventions, he never addressed the key issue - why was

:05:37.:05:43.

this scheme designed to exclude competition in respect of the lead

:05:44.:05:47.

partners? Isn't the answer clear, because it was always intended to be

:05:48.:05:52.

a vehicle for cronyism and it couldn't be that if you dared to

:05:53.:05:54.

have open competition. The rancour between the parties on

:05:55.:06:04.

this issue shows no sign of disdisappearing? No. There was a

:06:05.:06:08.

clear opposition Executive split on this, as with many issues over the

:06:09.:06:11.

last few months. Effectively, you could have summed up today's debate

:06:12.:06:15.

as one half of the chamber saying what with a is the issue here. Why

:06:16.:06:19.

are you coming to the chamber with this issue in erms it of Dee Stitt?

:06:20.:06:26.

The other half of the chamber saying, how can this be happening in

:06:27.:06:31.

Northern Ireland in 2016. On the issue of Dee Stitt, the opposition

:06:32.:06:35.

were keen to focus on that issue, unsurprisingly. The Executive rarely

:06:36.:06:40.

addressed that issue, John O'Dowd addressed it, saying he has not been

:06:41.:06:45.

convicted. He has a past conviction, not a current conviction, for UDA

:06:46.:06:49.

membership what do you want us to do about it? Most of the DUP

:06:50.:06:52.

representatives steered away saying lots of these groups are doing good

:06:53.:06:56.

work. It's accepted that they are. Some of the politician want to

:06:57.:07:00.

characterise the controversy as a media construct. Could they have a

:07:01.:07:04.

point? I think there are points where the media is justly criticised

:07:05.:07:09.

for things, I think on this issue we are probably a convenient punch bag.

:07:10.:07:17.

The BBC was particular punch bag today for Mrs Cameron, she talked

:07:18.:07:25.

about the Noalisation. The DUP appointed the editor of the Nolan

:07:26.:07:30.

Show. It ease convenient to deflect from the actual issue by saying the

:07:31.:07:43.

messager is the problem. The First and Deputy Firsters ministers

:07:44.:07:46.

announced the appointment of a six person panel as part of the Fresh

:07:47.:07:51.

Start Agreememt to replace the old sieve Vick forum? It is. It's a

:07:52.:07:57.

shrunken form. The Civic Forum died a lonely death a long time ago. Few

:07:58.:08:00.

people were clamouring to get it back. It's unclear whether this

:08:01.:08:04.

group will have any clout. The people are being paid ?300 a day for

:08:05.:08:10.

work which is unclear. People will expect to see something significant

:08:11.:08:14.

from them. They were appointed by the First and Deputy First

:08:15.:08:17.

Ministers. There was no open procurement, if that is the correct

:08:18.:08:23.

phrase, for their portions. They are appointed by the DUP and Sinn Fein.

:08:24.:08:26.

They will not massively rock the boat in terms of a situation where

:08:27.:08:31.

the opposition is criticising the Executive for something. They will

:08:32.:08:34.

contribute advice to the Executive on issues where they are seeking

:08:35.:08:38.

some sort of input from outside themselves. Interesting to see what

:08:39.:08:41.

their remit and range of issues they want to look at would be. Do you

:08:42.:08:45.

think it will have its discussion, deliberations will have an impact on

:08:46.:08:49.

public discourse? It's unclear. Not clear whether they will meet in

:08:50.:08:54.

public, private, will they publish minutes of their discussions, hold

:08:55.:08:58.

public meetings. The press release seems to show they

:08:59.:09:02.

will have a wide remit, right down to deciding who will chair each

:09:03.:09:05.

meeting. That will be for them to decide. It sounds like they have

:09:06.:09:08.

been given a pretty rough idea of what they are supposed to do. They

:09:09.:09:11.

have been told, you can go on and get on with it. It's not entirely

:09:12.:09:16.

clear what is expected of them or how they are expected to operate. We

:09:17.:09:19.

will talk to you later in the programme.

:09:20.:09:27.

Who would have thought "hot air" would turn out to be such

:09:28.:09:32.

But as a result of mistakes in the Renewable Heat Incentive

:09:33.:09:36.

scheme, Ministers could be handing out tens of millions of pounds

:09:37.:09:39.

Today, the Economy Minister revealed that he's drawing up

:09:40.:09:42.

plans which could see, in his words, "a significant

:09:43.:09:44.

Here's Simon Hamilton responding to a question

:09:45.:09:47.

These are serious issues which I'm very sized of the importance of and

:09:48.:09:52.

I'm dealing with on an ongoing basy to try to find a resolution to many

:09:53.:09:56.

of the issues that have froed from the allegations and concerns there

:09:57.:10:00.

have been with the Renewable Heat Incentive. My department is

:10:01.:10:05.

developing a proposal for changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive which

:10:06.:10:08.

would lead to a significant reduction in future costs to the

:10:09.:10:12.

Northern Ireland Executivive. It requires detail discussions include

:10:13.:10:15.

legal advice and further engagement with the European Commission, it

:10:16.:10:19.

received approval within the state aid regime. I will bring a proposal

:10:20.:10:24.

to the Assembly and issue a document as early as I can early in the new

:10:25.:10:30.

year. We are pursuing stronger enforcement of the existing

:10:31.:10:33.

regulations through Ofgem so that abuses of the scheme are addressed

:10:34.:10:37.

as effectively as possible and that any possible fraud cases are dealt

:10:38.:10:44.

with rigorously. Thank you Mr Speaker. Will the investigation

:10:45.:10:50.

initiated by the minister be able to distinguish between

:10:51.:10:52.

maladministration and illegitimate installations. In other words,

:10:53.:10:55.

fraud, and are the police currently investigating? Mr Speaker, as I

:10:56.:11:04.

pointed out to the member in my answer, these are serious

:11:05.:11:07.

allegations of fraud and abuse which were received, which have been given

:11:08.:11:11.

the due seriousness that such allegations would require. That's

:11:12.:11:16.

why we have carried begun, commenced carried out the investigations that

:11:17.:11:21.

we have. I'm absolutely adamant that where there is proof and evidence.

:11:22.:11:24.

That is the important bit of this. There has to be proof and evidence

:11:25.:11:31.

of abuse of the scheme, that appropriate action, all appropriate

:11:32.:11:37.

angsts including if required criminal proceedings should be taken

:11:38.:11:42.

for defrauding the It might cost scheme. Him his job, would the

:11:43.:11:48.

minister agree that at least one of his redcressors, particularly Mrs

:11:49.:11:53.

Foster, was asleep at the wheel in terms of failing to exercise

:11:54.:11:57.

ministerial supervision and ensuring that there was adequate cost

:11:58.:12:04.

controls in place. Can he give us an update on how much this squander

:12:05.:12:09.

made in Stormont is going to cost us into the future? The minister, the

:12:10.:12:17.

member, describes it as "squander" I didn't see him referring to it as

:12:18.:12:22.

squander when he wrote to me a few weeks ago pleading for a constituent

:12:23.:12:27.

of his to be included in the scheme. LAUGHTER. It seems... It seems it's

:12:28.:12:35.

squander when it suits the member. Well, Jim Allister wasn't

:12:36.:12:38.

going to let that go unchallenged and he raised a point of order

:12:39.:12:40.

at the end of question time. In September and in October of this

:12:41.:12:47.

year I wrote on behalf of two separate constituents who had

:12:48.:12:51.

applied to the scheme back in February and had heard nothing. I

:12:52.:12:54.

did what any other constituent member would have done. I wrote and

:12:55.:13:01.

asked - why have these people not heard about their applications. You

:13:02.:13:04.

placed your concern on-the-record. No doubt that the minister will be

:13:05.:13:06.

aware of your concerns, Mr Allister. Meanwhile, Simon Hamilton's DUP

:13:07.:13:11.

colleague, Peter Weir, was also on his feet

:13:12.:13:14.

at the despatch box today. The Education Minister fielded

:13:15.:13:16.

questions yet again about industrial action being taken by some teaching

:13:17.:13:18.

unions over pay. Mr Weir was also asked what steps

:13:19.:13:21.

were being taken in schools to highlight the risks

:13:22.:13:23.

of social media. In 2015 the executive commissioned

:13:24.:13:33.

the developmentment of a new safety strategy an action plan for Northern

:13:34.:13:38.

Ireland. This was a recognition of the rising concern of parents,

:13:39.:13:42.

carers, professionals and broader society for the safety of children

:13:43.:13:47.

and young people when using the internet and encouraging with social

:13:48.:13:51.

media. There are aims within the strategy which are applicable to

:13:52.:13:56.

schools, which include developing a consistent approach to E safety in

:13:57.:14:00.

schools through technical provision. Education of our young people and

:14:01.:14:03.

children and those who work with them. Developing a consistent

:14:04.:14:11.

approach to E safety messages for children, young people, parents,

:14:12.:14:15.

embedding a culture of E safety within schools, colleges, youth

:14:16.:14:19.

services and organisations and practicer ins who work with young

:14:20.:14:23.

children and families. Would he ensure such a strategy is live.

:14:24.:14:29.

Technology changes consistently and be sure the strategy keeps up to

:14:30.:14:33.

day? An implementation plan is critical. We have something which is

:14:34.:14:37.

live and has a level of flexibility within it that can ensure that

:14:38.:14:41.

whatever changes there are in technology or changes in terms of a

:14:42.:14:48.

cultural change. Sometimes it's less direct technology the way it essay

:14:49.:14:52.

dapted and use. We can have the flexibility so things can respond

:14:53.:14:53.

fairly quickly. Did I ask the Minister to provide an

:14:54.:15:05.

update on the teacher's dispute? There has been a call that has gone

:15:06.:15:10.

out to try to sit down and see if we can provide a long-term solution for

:15:11.:15:16.

this. The reality is that within the 20000 and 16-20,017 -- 2016-2017

:15:17.:15:24.

budget, there have been some issues raised in relation to this in terms

:15:25.:15:29.

of parity but an offer has been made which was greater than parity and

:15:30.:15:33.

they said no to it. There is a situation in which within the

:15:34.:15:40.

current constraints, what was put in place for the next year was

:15:41.:15:43.

ultimately within the current constraints a fair offer in that

:15:44.:15:52.

regard. The Minister won't be aware of the recent strike and he has

:15:53.:15:55.

taken a rather obdurate mission in relation to it. Given that and given

:15:56.:15:59.

the fact that the other three teacher's unions are presently

:16:00.:16:02.

balloting for strike action, would he agree with me that the best

:16:03.:16:05.

veggie teachers might adopt in order to shift the Minister from his

:16:06.:16:13.

present obstinate position would be for them to strike together? No. I

:16:14.:16:20.

suspect he has not changed his position in the last half-century in

:16:21.:16:26.

regards to being obdurate. To be fair, whatever other criticism I

:16:27.:16:34.

would make... A bit like Castro, you have been consistent in your

:16:35.:16:38.

position for the last half-century. But I think my main concern is the

:16:39.:16:47.

children. And think it is highly responsible of the member to

:16:48.:16:52.

centrally encourage people to go out on strike, particularly in

:16:53.:16:54.

circumstances where there is not additional money that is there. It

:16:55.:16:58.

is not a question of obduracy. It is a question of there is not money

:16:59.:17:01.

within the budget to be able to provide for this.

:17:02.:17:03.

Peter Weir, refusing to give any ground

:17:04.:17:05.

Food hygiene stickers on display in cafes and restaurants have become

:17:06.:17:08.

Today the Health Minister outlined the fines for non-display -

:17:09.:17:14.

and how much it will cost for businesses to get re-rated.

:17:15.:17:18.

Michelle O'Neill said the aim is to help consumers

:17:19.:17:21.

make an informed choice about where to eat and, ultimately,

:17:22.:17:23.

In summary, the key provisions of the act require all food businesses

:17:24.:17:35.

to display a valid food hygiene rating sticker. Relevant employees

:17:36.:17:41.

within a food business must on request in farmed the person making

:17:42.:17:46.

the request of the food hygiene rating. It requires all online

:17:47.:17:50.

businesses selling food to display a rating on their platform and

:17:51.:17:54.

introduces offences in relation to non-display of valid rating

:17:55.:17:59.

information. And allow for a fixed penalty notices to be applied for

:18:00.:18:03.

not showing their rating. Allow the charging of a fee in relation to

:18:04.:18:08.

conducting a request for a re-rating visit. Specifies time schools in

:18:09.:18:15.

which it must be completed by. The order specifies the amount of the

:18:16.:18:18.

fixed penalty and the fee in relation to conducting a requested

:18:19.:18:23.

rating visit. The advantages of introducing the rating penalty

:18:24.:18:28.

notices are twofold. They provide officers with an additional

:18:29.:18:31.

enforcement tool and they reduce the burden on the North of Ireland Court

:18:32.:18:35.

service by reducing the number of prosecutions taken. It therefore

:18:36.:18:38.

follows that the amount of the expelled the notice applied must be

:18:39.:18:41.

at a sufficient level to deter people from committing the offence,

:18:42.:18:43.

but not so they would encourage offenders to aim for a better

:18:44.:18:49.

outcome from a court hearing. Our officers to that a strong penalty is

:18:50.:18:53.

more suitable. They were still retain the opportunity of

:18:54.:18:58.

prosecuting the offender. Considering the food hygiene rating

:18:59.:19:03.

Bill, the previous health committee supported the overarching aim of the

:19:04.:19:08.

bill to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness through the

:19:09.:19:10.

introduction of the mandatory food hygiene rating scheme. It was

:19:11.:19:14.

accepted that this would not only help businesses to achieve and

:19:15.:19:17.

maintain compliance with food hygiene law. It would also allow

:19:18.:19:21.

consumers to make informed choices about where they wished to eat or

:19:22.:19:25.

shop for food. When considering the statutory role before the Assembly

:19:26.:19:29.

today, the committee noted the importance if guards for businesses

:19:30.:19:32.

within the act to allow businesses to request a rating of their

:19:33.:19:36.

premises again and accepted that the fee of ?150 setup in these reflected

:19:37.:19:42.

the cost that would be incurred by district councils. In conducting

:19:43.:19:47.

this inspection. The committee also noted and had no objection to the

:19:48.:19:51.

fixed penalty amount of ?200, which would be payable by businesses were

:19:52.:19:55.

a fixed penalty notice was served. The committee further noted that the

:19:56.:19:59.

examiner of statutory rules confirmed in the report issues on

:20:00.:20:04.

the 21st of October 2016 that she has no issues to raise with regard

:20:05.:20:09.

to the technical aspect. A recent survey demonstrated how 90% of

:20:10.:20:12.

consumers look at the meeting of the premise compared to the 22% who look

:20:13.:20:16.

online. I also welcome the fact that this will allow for an authorised

:20:17.:20:20.

officer of the distant Council to issue a fixed penalty notice for

:20:21.:20:25.

offences related to non-display of valid food hygiene rating. As this

:20:26.:20:28.

will undoubtedly succeed in reducing the number of offences having to be

:20:29.:20:33.

dealt with through the courts. I also want to note the largely

:20:34.:20:36.

positive consultation responses. With regards to the fee, I will

:20:37.:20:46.

leave the positives for it with the opportunity for an upgraded rating

:20:47.:20:50.

will encourage -- encourage businesses to make the necessary

:20:51.:20:55.

improvements. I encourage the public to make the most of the new

:20:56.:20:57.

measures. Sound advice from the Minister

:20:58.:20:57.

if you're planning to head The Ulster Unionists have called

:20:58.:21:00.

on the Executive to nominate a Northern Ireland representative

:21:01.:21:03.

to the UK-wide Armed Forces Covenant reference group -

:21:04.:21:05.

the covenant states that veterans "should face no disadvantage

:21:06.:21:09.

compared to other citizens in Opening the debate, Doug Beattie

:21:10.:21:12.

said he recognised that reaching agreement across the chamber

:21:13.:21:16.

may be difficult. I fully understand that you feel

:21:17.:21:27.

that those who you represent and many of the communities that you

:21:28.:21:32.

represent had been brutalised by the British military, certainly in the

:21:33.:21:36.

70s and in the early 80s. I can fully understand that. The covenant

:21:37.:21:41.

fund is ?10 million per year that we are able to bid for. We do get our

:21:42.:21:49.

fair share and in the last 12 months, we have had ?450,000 that

:21:50.:21:53.

has gone to combat stress and we have had ?600,000 which is gone to

:21:54.:21:58.

nursing homes and mental health. There is a defence community mental

:21:59.:22:03.

health facility which is underused. It has had four people go to it

:22:04.:22:08.

because nobody knows about it. I visit my constituents in prison. I

:22:09.:22:12.

visit them in hospital, where they have attempted suicide. I go with

:22:13.:22:15.

them to reviews with a try to keep hold of the children and I attend

:22:16.:22:18.

police stations with them when they have issues with domestic violence

:22:19.:22:23.

through issues of PTSD. I do not question the fact that more needs to

:22:24.:22:26.

be done in Northern Ireland to make veterans await the services,

:22:27.:22:30.

charities and apartment that they can access. Even whilst I would

:22:31.:22:37.

dispute what political and military leadership do, there are many people

:22:38.:22:40.

in the British Army who fought in good faith and in sincere belief.

:22:41.:22:48.

Wherever they went around the world over the years, I do not dispute the

:22:49.:22:56.

contribution of individual members of the Army for the is as they

:22:57.:23:00.

believe in. And I say that because I have said it before because my great

:23:01.:23:05.

uncle I am named after lies in an unmarked grave on the Belgian coast

:23:06.:23:10.

at a place called Newport, having been killed in July 1917 in the

:23:11.:23:16.

First World War, and I have visited and visited with pride the memorial.

:23:17.:23:21.

I want to assure the members that I did as Doug Beattie asked and I

:23:22.:23:25.

listened to to the contributions and I want to assure everybody that my

:23:26.:23:28.

opposition to this motion isn't based on my own very negative

:23:29.:23:31.

experiences of the British Army. Nor is it based on my antipathy to the

:23:32.:23:37.

actions of engaged in by the British army across the globe in recent

:23:38.:23:42.

years. My opposition is political, though. It is very political. It is

:23:43.:23:46.

political in a sense that my opposition to supporting this is

:23:47.:23:49.

based on the protection of rights and entitlements, fair access to

:23:50.:23:52.

servers for every citizen who lives here in Northern Ireland. Due to do

:23:53.:23:59.

nations being scarce, they have been forced into a decision to withdraw

:24:00.:24:02.

their welfare support for the front line and I think it has been

:24:03.:24:07.

revealed that nearly 3000 individuals who rely upon that

:24:08.:24:09.

service will be impacted. And these are issues that can be raised within

:24:10.:24:15.

the common reference group. In terms of the issue of equality and equal

:24:16.:24:19.

treatment, let's be clear. They are not the same thing. If we want a

:24:20.:24:22.

more equal society then treating everybody the same way will not get

:24:23.:24:25.

us there. Because those with an advantaged will continue to be

:24:26.:24:29.

advantaged and those with a disadvantage will continue to be

:24:30.:24:32.

disadvantaged. The only way we can bring about a more equal society is

:24:33.:24:35.

a special consideration, targeting objective need, not just assessing

:24:36.:24:40.

it but targeting it. What I am arguing for is that the same

:24:41.:24:43.

treatment is given to other people and in particular those who have

:24:44.:24:51.

gone through similar experiences. I understand absolutely that people

:24:52.:24:55.

have suffered. What I am arguing is that it can't be specific... It can

:24:56.:25:04.

be giving the British Armed Forces and advantage above others. That is

:25:05.:25:14.

the argued. -- and timid. -- argument. I would have to say that

:25:15.:25:20.

it doesn't say that. It actually says that the disadvantage that

:25:21.:25:23.

people have suffered is to be addressed, not that they are

:25:24.:25:27.

advantaged. Special consideration is not advantage. It is to consider the

:25:28.:25:30.

special conditions in which they have lived.

:25:31.:25:31.

Naomi Long - and that motion was carried by 58 votes to 20.

:25:32.:25:34.

It's one of the most contentious issues for our MLAs,

:25:35.:25:36.

and attempts to change the law surrounding abortion in cases

:25:37.:25:39.

of fatal foetal abnormality failed in the last mandate.

:25:40.:25:42.

We're currently waiting for the Health Minister to bring

:25:43.:25:45.

forward proposals resulting from a working group set up

:25:46.:25:47.

to look into the issue, but today the former

:25:48.:25:49.

Justice Minister, David Ford, brought forward

:25:50.:25:50.

I begged to introduce the abortion fatal little abnormality built. I

:25:51.:26:04.

would ask the clerk to please read the long title. A Bill to make

:26:05.:26:11.

provision to decriminalise medical termination of a pregnancy in those

:26:12.:26:14.

circumstances where the foetus is diagnosed with fatal abnormality.

:26:15.:26:21.

That constitutes the first stage of the bill and it churn out be

:26:22.:26:23.

printed. And obviously that bill will be

:26:24.:26:23.

debated during its second And that is likely to

:26:24.:26:25.

be a lively debate - because opinion is deeply divided

:26:26.:26:32.

on this issue amongst the parties. Yes, and I think this will be one of

:26:33.:26:42.

the defining issues of this mandate in terms of the Assembly, that there

:26:43.:26:45.

is of course as you mentioned the option of this coming from the

:26:46.:26:49.

executive, of them winning forward a bill based on their working group. I

:26:50.:26:53.

think that is probably unlikely in the sense that the DUP have seemed

:26:54.:26:57.

pretty and reluctant to move on that issue. This is going to get a lot of

:26:58.:27:03.

scrutiny. I think there was a letter that came out today from the medics

:27:04.:27:07.

raising the question of whether the term fatal fatal abnormality which

:27:08.:27:10.

is in the long title of the bill is even the right term to use here. And

:27:11.:27:13.

these can be very difficult issues to go through to decide what exactly

:27:14.:27:17.

are the conditions which are covered by this. At what point after birth

:27:18.:27:22.

when somebody is believed by doctors to not have a chance of life should

:27:23.:27:28.

they be allowed to have an abortion. That is going to be very difficult.

:27:29.:27:34.

And I think central to this will be the DUP. Other parties will also

:27:35.:27:40.

have a lot of debate about this. Just a quick word about the debate

:27:41.:27:44.

on the military covenant. It divided the chamber along well-established

:27:45.:27:47.

lines. Yes, and that is not a surprise. It was a measured debate

:27:48.:27:52.

both from Doug Beattie and from Sinn Fein. It basically comes down to

:27:53.:27:57.

where one possible definition of equality is different from others.

:27:58.:28:00.

Sinn Fein said it would be in equitable to give preferential

:28:01.:28:05.

treatment for the point of view of the military. This is about soldiers

:28:06.:28:14.

who will be leaving the military and there has to be consideration taken

:28:15.:28:19.

of his circumstances, but there was a scathing review from Lord Ashcroft

:28:20.:28:26.

and the DUP is under a bit of pressure. Today was meant to be the

:28:27.:28:29.

last sitting before Christmas. There are strong rumours we could be back

:28:30.:28:35.

for the first budget on the 19th of December. That seems very likely. It

:28:36.:28:39.

seems to be that it will be a one-year budget in terms of the

:28:40.:28:43.

current resource account. We will also be looking to see whether there

:28:44.:28:47.

are any hints about corporation tax, whether that will definitely be cut

:28:48.:28:49.

from next's budget. That's it for tonight

:28:50.:28:51.

and perhaps for 2016, depending on whether or not that

:28:52.:28:54.

budget happens on Monday week - In the meantime, do join me

:28:55.:28:57.

for The View on Thursday night, Until then, from everyone

:28:58.:29:01.

in the team, bye-bye. 'Sometimes all that's needed

:29:02.:29:13.

is a helping hand...' It wouldn't be Christmas

:29:14.:29:18.

without her. Ah. '..recognising someone's value

:29:19.:29:26.

and seeing when they need help. 'A few minutes of our time

:29:27.:29:32.

or one small gesture 'may be all that it takes -

:29:33.:29:34.

playing our part.' We're doing something to support

:29:35.:29:38.

older people this Christmas.

:29:39.:29:47.

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