12/01/2016 Stormont Today


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 12/01/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Day two in the top job and Arlene Foster announces


She names Mervyn Storey as her successor in Finance


and appoints Lord Morrow to take over his old job


And you can award yourself a bonus point if you remembered that he did,


in fact, hold that post before a decade and a half ago.


Two new ministers, but the First Minister stresses


it will be business as usual in the coming months.


We will have continuity of service, I think that's what people want to


see, they do not want disruption of public services, and see us continue


to deliver and we will do that until election day.


But things were a lot less cordial in the chamber


strong views on exactly what to call this place.


Just to be clear I've absolutely nothing to confess, I have no


problem saying Northern Ireland, it's not a term I use, absolutely


not a term I use. And joining me with his thoughts


on today's proceedings After some fervent media


speculation, the new First Minister unveiled the changes


to her ministerial line-up There must have been disappointment


for several MLAs whose names had reportedly been in the mix,


but in the end, Arlene Foster opted to go with


the "safe hands make sense" policy. So, in comes Mervyn Storey


to Finance and it's a case of welcome back to Social


Development for Lord Morrow. As you know, he has served in that


position before and I'm delighted he is taking up the position again,


albeit only for a relatively short period of time and of course we know


that the pre-election period is coming at us quite fast and the


priority was to make sure there was minimal disruption to public


services and to make sure that we continue to have practical services


on the ground, while delighted board colleagues have said yes. I look


forward to the great honour and challenge of being Finance Minister


and we have an agreed budget and there will be the implementation of


that through the Assembly. I want to peter Brooke to the former finance


minister. -- I want to pay tribute. And thank her for placing in me that


responsibility for the Department of Finance. I've been here before, it's


like back to the future! And although things have moved on in


some 14 years, since I was in Social Development, and I've been looking


at how well it has been looked after, I hope he has left plenty of


money, because I'm looking forward to my first day of briefings and to


see exactly where we are in the department, but it is for a short


period, coming to the end of this mandate, and I will apply myself


with all my might to continue the good work that Mervyn Storey has


been doing over the weeks ahead. I firmly believe that Mervyn Storey


having been in the Department of Social Development can pick up what


is happening in the Department of Finance and as far as the Department


of Social Development, I believe he has been there before, he knows what


the issues are and will settle into that belief without a lot of


reacquainting of the issues so we will have continuity of service,


people don't want disruption in relation to public services, but see


us continue to deliver and we will do that right up until election day.


Let's remember we had the challenge and Social Development for welfare


reform and I have to work through those particular issues and I am not


in any way underestimating the challenge that there will be, but as


I endeavour to apply myself, as like I was in DSD, I will do the same in


the Department of Finance because it is important to have continuity of


service, as the First Minister said, and this year begins Northern


Ireland with a considerable degree of hope and we need to see the


fermentation of the budget, challenging as that will be, --


implementation of the budget. And give Northern Ireland the stability


needed. The new Finance Minister,


Mervyn Storey. What do you make of the mini


reshuffle from Arlene Foster? Make sense? There had been speculation


that underneath this ministerial change be may get indication as to


what an Arlene Foster lead DUP might look like, but she has gone to


receive Conservative option, using the phrase continuity of service,


but wants it to be an unremarkable change, going for two people who


have been ministers before, making the point Lord Morrow was there,


albeit a decade and a half ago, this and I think she is away there are


only 10-11 weeks of this term left until we have the elections, so


rather than doing something different, like appointing Alistair


Ross or Peter Weir, something that would have been a story in and of


itself, she has decided to leave the 15 changes until the other side of


the election. Quite a vote of confidence in Mervyn Storey. Do you


see him as somebody whose star is still in the ascendant? I think so,


I think when you look at him in education, he was combative with


Sinn Fein and now with Social Development, there is a sense he is


from the more traditional wing of the party, from North Antrim, and a


number of other people, like Simon Hamilton or Peter Weir, coming like


Arlene Foster through the Ulster Unionist Party moving over, and


weird as we have here Arlene Foster when she took over the leadership


saying there is only one DUP. But like any other single political


party it has its own branches in camps. And a job for any leader to


keeping everyone happy. Quite a challenge for Arlene Foster after


the May election, the number of department dropping, and she will


have one position less to give out. Yes, and it is going to be a very


short honeymoon period for Arlene Foster, because she has come to the


leadership and vision of the DUP when they were at their peak. The


last Assembly election, I sense they had peaked, and the only way is


down. If they come out of this election losing a few seats, it


feeds into the Ulster U slime that they are growing, and she may have


to appoint with less posts. -- it feeds into the Ulster Unionist Party


line. We will see what happens after that. And we will speak to you in a


moment. Thank you. In the chamber, the Culture Minister


faced question time today and, during it, she clashed


with the Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy over her reluctance


to use the term "Northern Ireland". In fact, Caral Ni Chuilin


was in combative form all afternoon as she answered questions


from several unionists the Minister wasn't giving


away any ground. The cost of the consultation was


?14,300, a very success of -- successful consultation, 95% of


responses expressed support for an anguished language act. It was


published on the 18th of December and it is available on the


departmental website. Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Can the Minister not


see that this consultation was a poor use of resources? When you


consider the political reality, it is that such a bill would require


cross community support. My party has medically and we will not be


supporting any act like this. Because not only of how divisive it


will be but because of the cost of implementing the use of Irish


courts, and in the Assembly, the language humanist... Can you come to


the question please? The political reality is when it comes to


equality, the member and his party have a very poor record, very poor


record of implementing what were lodged cited reports and


internationally binding agreements. The Irish language act was in the


Good Friday Agreement, and it has been an subsequent documents after


that, I know the member is intelligent and I can't understand


how he feels to see the 13,000 responses, 95% of which are


supportive. -- how he fails. It came from right across its unity and


ahead of some of your party are at. Can I ask the Minister, and plead


with the Minister, to stop... To stop refusing to use the term


Northern Ireland, simply for a political reason? And for no good


reason at all. You are a minister in the Northern Ireland executive, you


are expected to perform on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland, it's


time you and your party realised that. First of all, as a former


minister, I think that's a fairly pure question, and what's even more


disappointing is the subsequent follow-up question. It actually


shows that first of all, just to be clear, I've nothing to confess, I


have no problem seeing Northern Ireland. It's not a term I use. Not


a term I use. -- no problem saying. But I think the member asking a


question like this, given his role in departments, real issue it is


like backroom boy stuff, seriously! It is really sad summer like you


asked a question like that. Yesterday the Deputy First Minister


said this is an important year for unionism with the 100th anniversary


of the Battle of the Somme, those remarks should not have been made,


that is not just associated with the Unionist committee or those of a


Protestant background, or other men, both Roman Catholic and resident


Unionist and nationalist, leaving these shores to fight in France. --


Protestant Unionist and nationalist. No one team unity owns the Battle of


the Somme. -- no one community. Yes, I agree and I think you are


misrepresenting the sentiments in which Martin McGuinness said he


recognised the importance of the Battle of the Somme in the Unionist


committee, he is well aware of the numbers of people, and indeed the


background of the people who left these shores to die elsewhere, he is


well aware of that. We have been very generous and consistent and


open in giving acknowledgement and respect to of the events that will


be marked. Martin McGuinness has done it, I have done it, other


members have done it, I would encourage the members opposite to do


this. It was a busy day for the Employment


and Learning Minister today for further education


in the Assembly. Stephen Farry told MLAs he wants see


further education valued similarly to higher education


and the school system. Today I am launching the new father


education strategy for Northern Ireland, father education mean


success. What I am outlining and the steps we will take to implement the


new strategy will enable colleges to build on the green breaking


achievements of the sector over the last decade. It will ensure colleges


continue to vote for the important jewel role of developing a strong


and vibrant economy and supporting social inclusion. It will also


enable further education to be recognised as an equal and valued


pillar of the education system alongside higher education and the


secondary school system. In 2014 launch the review of further


education in Northern Ireland and on the 2nd of July 2015 I published a


consultation document on development of father education strategy for not


an island, it was wide-ranging in its approach and considerable


reasonable and national and international policies for several


commitments, including underlying evidence


commitments, including underlying analysis of best practice in further


education colleges and colleges in other parts of the world. Details


statistical analysis of education activity and the consultation with


stakeholders. We have current and future jobs requiring increasing and


high level of skills and breadth of knowledge. Over the next ten years


the pace of change will accelerate, driven by globalisation, advances in


technology, new business models and rapidly changing consumer needs. The


planned introduction of bridges corporation tax can invigorate the


economy. These development will lead to substantial changes in the world


of work. Four key objectives, 21 policy commitments in the statement,


could the Minister provide the more detailed figures in what the budget


will be the in the next mandate and how many students will be supported?


The FE sector has had difficult times over the years in terms of


efficiency savings and cuts that have been passed on from the


executive. In all of my approach to trying to find savings in my own


department to address cuts that have been imposed upon us, we've always


sought to as far as possible protect the front line. Sadly last year that


was not something that was possible given the magnitude of the cuts we


were facing and we have seen, regrettably, loss of some provision


in terms of blazes. The first time we've seen a retreat for many years


in Northern Ireland. We are still working through the implications of


the budget agreed by the executive before Christmas. The incoming


department of the economy is facing a cut and that will create a


challenging context for all of the different skills that includes


further education. Stephen Farry on the continuing


challenges of managing his department in the current


funding climate. Now, the eagle-eyed among you might


have noticed two new faces on the SDLP's benches


since yesterday. Gerard Diver has replaced


Pat Ramsey as an MLA for Foyle and Daniel McCrossan has succeeded


Joe Byrne in West Tyrone. Congratulations. I'm getting to


grips with Stormont? I am, it's a big change but I'm getting used to


it quickly. You've had to go through quite a few selection processes and


people are a bit confused. One in October and one more recently. Why


so many? Why this whiff of controversy about you? In October


the focus was on selecting an assembly candidate. Joe has had to


stand down earlier than planned and that led to the second selection a


few weeks thereafter. If you were already selected to be the assembly


candidate, surely it was obvious you would be the Co-op tea. They didn't


have to go through a second selection process in which you won


anyway. The party is very democratic and we don't do things by half


measures. I'm very happy to go through both selection processes.


You're a big supporter of Alasdair McDonnell. Are you now fully behind


the leadership of Colum Eastwood? Absolutely. My loyalty was -- is


with the leader. Colum Eastwood will continue with the great work. There


are a number of changes. It's a positive note and eclipse of what


Colum is about to do. You didn't back him for the leadership. You


backed Alister McDermott. I backed the sitting leader because my


loyalty were with the sitting leader, but now Colum is the leader


and he has my full support. Do you have any concerns that you're


backing for Alasdair McDonnell might count against you? Absolutely not.


Colum get on very well and have a good working relationship and we


share the same vision. We will rebuild the party and we will do a


constituency by constituency that will happen over the next couple of


months. You talked about your party being democratic. There was a rift


in West Tyrone. You had your supporters and you are selected and


you're here now. Some people weren't very enthusiastic about your


candidacy. Has that rift gone away? Have you kissed and made up with


those individuals who worked enthusiastic about you? That's a


consequence of democracy. Not everybody agrees with the outcomes.


I do believe those relationships have mended and will continue to


mend. We all have plans for the party and the party membership from


across the constituency share my vision on how we take the party


forward. You might find it tricky to hold onto this seat in May. Joe


Burns, if you look back to last time, he got the sixth seat with


3001st preferences, which was less than half, or about half, what Barry


Mackle Duff got, who topped the poll. That's one way of looking at


it. Since then a lot of work has been. The SDLP gained seats in Omagh


in the council election. Our vote went up when I was Westminster


candidate last year. That sends a positive message that what we are


doing is working and we will retain the seat. I'm very confident and I'm


happy to be the representative. If you were very confident, you would


have waited for the election in May and taken your chances rather than


become what did at this stage. That's the true for answer. Joe had


to go as a result of his ill health. It was a difficult decision for him,


but he had all our support and we had to find an immediate


replacement. I'm very happy to be that replacement. Good to talk to


you and no doubt we will hear more from you over the next few weeks.


The Agriculture Minister may have answered an urgent oral question


on recent flooding yesterday in the House, but Members


were still concerned about her department's response


First up for Michelle O'Neill, though, was a question


from her Sinn Fein colleague Oliver McMullan about the recent


approval of local pork exports to China.


The pig industry is an important sector here and die was delighted


when China announced its intention to approve plans in the North for


pork exports to China. Securing access to one of the primary new


markets is a very welcome development and followed by my third


visit to China in June last year which focused on negotiating these


appraisals. It represents a major boost for the pork industry. It's


difficult to precisely quantify the value of the market because of


uncertainty around exchange rates and potential demand and other


exporters. This trade could generate as much as 10 million in revenue per


year. Given the uncertainties is difficult to know if the potential


can be relied but when we work with the industry I'm looking forward to


the potential that there and for the industry to reach into what is


expected to become the leading consumer of pig meat by 2022 and


what we have to offer is something the Chinese market values. I welcome


the announcement this morning. Can she give the house some estimate as


to the size of the two potential markets and also an update on what


she's doing to get Northern Irish beef into the American markets?


That's one of our priorities. We want to build on the successes we've


had. We are working closely with the industry around the US market and


the Philippine market for beef. They are key markets which the industry


has identified. We are also working hard in terms of Australia add pork.


There are a number of key areas the industry want us to focus on and


that's the way we should be targeting these new markets. We've


had some is excessive in terms of the monetary value of getting into


these new markets. It's dependent on the take-up. Very much working in


tandem with my department and the enterprise Department around


showcasing our products wherever we can and also letting everybody know


that what we have is fully traceable food that we can stand over, we have


very wholesome food and that's one of our biggest strengths. She says


she's been on the ground, she certainly wasn't on the ground when


31 retail units were flooded. She refused to go out. That was in very


poor taste. The minister at least owes those retailers of apology


because of the negligence of her and her department. Can the Minster


given assurance today that the problems that existed there will be


remedied to such an extent that it will not happen again? It was sheer


negligence. I don't agree with your assessment in relation to sheer


negligence. What happened was clearly an example of a blocked


grill. The grill was cleared in advance of the storm and it was left


clear. Unfortunately we had extreme weather, three storms. That storm


that affected lead to extreme rain and high winds which means debris


got blocked up in the grill. As soon as the grill was cleared, the water


flowed away within half an hour. The member will be very clear on those


facts. I never refuse to go anywhere. I'm happy to meet anybody


at any time in relation to flooding issues and the response of my


agency. Has she made a representation to her executive


colleagues that the businesses which have been victims of the flooding


incident will be compensated in some way by this executive? I can't say


it any clearer than what I've said. The executive agreed yesterday that


we will take a look at the ?1.3 million and how best we spend that


money. I would much rather protect businesses against flooding as


opposed to giving them money to clean up afterwards.


The flooding issue still very much on Michelle O'Neill's agenda.


The Second Stage of the Employment Bill was on the floor today,


so Stephen Farry was back on his feet.


Northern Ireland is the only region of the UK in which implement law is


devolved. This provides us with the opportunity and responsibility


developed unemployment relations framework that meets the needs of


our region. I was impressed by the arguments of


many consultees who made the point that it is the quality rather than


the length of consultation that matters. I was all social drug by


the arguments against having the three redundancy periods. It is with


regret that I have decided not to take forward that matter in the


present bill as there is insufficient political consensus on


the issue. I also believe it was an opportunity to improve workers


rights, but in some cases that opportunity had not been taken. CBI


had said it was broadly content with the bill but noted there would be


resource imprecations. The CBI also believed that more could be done by


the LRH to insure the claims are rooted out and the process speeded


up. The CBI believed the bill was a missed opportunity to extend the


qualification period for unfair dismissal to two years. Both of


which would have brought Northern Ireland into line with GB. The


department objectives to identify opportunities to reduce regulation


and minister to burden on businesses while protecting the rights of Poyet


is under the three key themes, early resolution of workplace disputes,


efficient and effective employment tribunal 's better regulation


measures has in general received a broad welcome from all stakeholders.


Everyone wants to see less bureaucracy and more effective and


efficient streamlined system. Employers and employees want to see


these matters dealt with in an informal away as possible. If


conciliation or agreement can be reached outside of a formal tribunal


setting, that's what the majority of people want to see. Nobody wants to


have to go through a formal employment tribunal because it is a


context and burdensome process. Often resolutions -- opportunities


for resolution outside the formal tribunal setting is something we


should continue to explore at every opportunity. I only picked up this


issue this week. Pat Ramsey was leading this. I don't know if it is


a departmental or executive oversight we have an with. Zero our


contracts. -- hour. I don't think something this big... It shouldn't


be dealt with in emergency amendment and it would probably derail the


bill and the other good stuff we want to get through in this mandate.


Zero our contracts are undermining decent work. They are one of the big


implement issues of our time. And the second stage


of the Employment Bill And Chris Donnelly has


joined me for a final word. What did you make of what Daniel


McCrossan had to say? He seems an impressive candidate. He is


something new for the party in that area. Joe Byrne was a veteran


candidate. He made the point that Joe Byrne only got in last time and


that's an area where Sinn Fein have a formidable electoral machine. He


did well last year in Westminster, he grew the vote and presented the


vote. I can see him developing his presence and if you do look at the


SDLP now under Colum Eastwood, there are a number of areas where they


have introduced younger faces, a different generation. You have


Colum, Claire Hanlon, Nicola Balin will probably be the candidate in


north Belfast. We see a generational change which has been successfully


transitioned. It's ironic that perhaps Sinn Fein have missed a


trick. They haven't so far made that transition and that will be


interesting to see in the next assembly term for these people, what


is the nation -- the competent relationship they will have is in


opposition. Do you think that's something the SDLP needs to think


about? After May, moving out of the executive and coming back clearly in


opposition? One of the things they are trying is to present themselves


as the younger face. Youth on its own will not deliver what they need.


They have to find a place to call their own. They can only do that if


they go into opposition and try to make noise or make critiques of what


the government are doing across-the-board. Interesting


thought. Thanks, Chris.


That's it for tonight. The View is back this Thursday


at 10.35 on BBC One and the new First Minister


Arlene Foster. For now, though, from everyone


in the team, bye-bye. dogs and like,


I'd call them cannibals. We're talking hypothetical, here.


Yeah. But, I, personally, would probably


put the dog before me. I've got myself into a situation


with someone


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