15/01/2013 Stormont Today


15/01/2013

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 15/01/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

fairly limited. Hello, and welcome to Stormont Today. A new day on the

:00:29.:00:33.

hill, but the same issue dominating proceedings. The political

:00:33.:00:36.

divisions highlighted by the recent flag protests and accompanying

:00:36.:00:41.

violence. The Union flag is the flag of this country, and it's

:00:41.:00:48.

everybody's flag. Mr Nesbitt said, and I quote, the Union flag is

:00:48.:00:50.

everyone's flag in this region. That's not true. Also, why did the

:00:50.:00:55.

Health Minister feel the need for a political lesson? This House will

:00:55.:00:59.

make the laws, and courts will interpret those laws, not the other

:00:59.:01:04.

way around. And a political correspondent from

:01:04.:01:14.
:01:14.:01:16.

the detail - Stephen Walker gives us his take on the day's events.

:01:16.:01:20.

Even before business began a point of order was a taste of the

:01:20.:01:25.

fractious atmosphere to come. He wanted the Speaker to look at

:01:25.:01:29.

comments Alex Massky had made about the ongoing trouble in east Belfast.

:01:29.:01:32.

Advise this House what action can be taken against a member who

:01:32.:01:35.

breachs the code of conduct, in particular reference to the

:01:35.:01:39.

personal conduct of members who have a duty to uphold the law and

:01:39.:01:42.

to act on all occasions in accord Wednesday the public trust placed

:01:42.:01:45.

in them. Furthermore, in respect of promoting good relations where

:01:45.:01:49.

members will act in way that is conducive to promoting good

:01:49.:01:52.

relations and promoting a culture of respect for the law, in specific,

:01:52.:01:57.

reference to the member for south Belfast, Mr Massky who on Sunday

:01:57.:02:03.

said that the Short Strand residents were behaving with

:02:03.:02:09.

impeccable pave your despite evidence of them wearing Balaklavas,

:02:09.:02:14.

wielding bats, throwing bricks at protesters. Furthermore, last night

:02:14.:02:18.

on various media outlets saying his response to the violence visited on

:02:18.:02:21.

members of the Short Strand would be to meet it with violence.

:02:21.:02:25.

Clearly, in those circumstances what action can be taken to a

:02:25.:02:29.

member who has flouted the code of conduct for members? First of all,

:02:29.:02:34.

members will know I do give members some latitude on points of order,

:02:34.:02:37.

but secondly, this is not a point of order. Thirdly, this is not an

:02:37.:02:41.

issue for the Speaker, but certainly I would direct the member

:02:41.:02:47.

to the Provisions Committee or to the clerks here within the

:02:47.:02:50.

Parliament buildings but it's not a matter for the Speaker and not a

:02:50.:02:55.

point of order. Is it an order for the member

:02:55.:02:58.

across the floor to misquote another member in this House

:02:58.:03:03.

whatever happened inside the House and as you pointed out yourself, Mr

:03:03.:03:11.

Speaker, it didn't deal with this House and the member has been

:03:11.:03:13.

misquoted. THE SPEAKER: Order. I want to say

:03:13.:03:20.

to the whole House, order. Order. Let us all be careful -- in

:03:20.:03:24.

whatever contribution we make in this House. Let us all be careful.

:03:25.:03:28.

Let us not make a bad situation worse outside this chamber. Let

:03:28.:03:32.

always be careful, and we all have a responsibility as political

:03:32.:03:37.

parties in this House to behave in a appropriate manner. Order. Let us

:03:37.:03:41.

all move on. Alex Maskey got his opportunity to respond to that

:03:41.:03:45.

point of order during the subsequent debate AUUP motion on

:03:45.:03:49.

inclusivety called on the Assembly to reconfirm its commitment to

:03:49.:03:54.

peace and democracy and for all parties to respect the spirit of

:03:54.:03:58.

the Good Friday Agreement. I was shocked to watch the discussion on

:03:58.:04:03.

the late news last night to hear Alex Maskey state if he lived in

:04:03.:04:07.

the Short Strand he would be out throwing stones at the street

:04:07.:04:11.

protests. I condemn the violence visited upon the residents...

:04:11.:04:18.

THE SPEAKER: Order. A point of order, Mr Maskey. Order! I welcome

:04:18.:04:22.

your ruling earlier on at the beginning of this session, and I

:04:22.:04:26.

listened to Mr Nesbitt start off his comments about today is not

:04:26.:04:29.

about what happened yesterday or last week, but about what we do

:04:29.:04:33.

from here on in, but I would actually strongly advise Mr Nesbitt

:04:33.:04:38.

not to misquote me in this chamber today. There is a transcript -

:04:38.:04:42.

there is a full transcript - there is a transcript available, as Mr

:04:42.:04:46.

Nesbitt as a former journalist will know. He should not misquote me in

:04:46.:04:48.

this chamber today. THE SPEAKER: Order. Order! The

:04:48.:04:54.

member has it on the record. Order. Order. Mr Nesbitt, order.

:04:54.:04:57.

Speaker, thank you. I am confident that I reflect the spirit of the

:04:57.:05:02.

words I heard last night on UTV's late-night news. Mr Speaker, my

:05:03.:05:08.

party calls for a return to the spirit of the Belfast Agreement. I

:05:08.:05:11.

acknowledge the DUP having an amendment down to that part of the

:05:11.:05:14.

motion. We're not down the ditch over that as long as we get this

:05:14.:05:17.

opportunity to explain exactly what we mean by the spirit of the agreat.

:05:17.:05:23.

There was another area where the Belfast Agreement was an

:05:23.:05:27.

unqualified success, and that is in regard to the constitutional

:05:27.:05:32.

question which was settled in 1998 and endorsed by a referendum.

:05:32.:05:37.

Northern Ireland is part of the UK, and that means the Union flag is

:05:37.:05:42.

the flag of this country, and it's everybody's flag. I want to come to

:05:42.:05:47.

a conclusion, Mr Speaker, to the issue that I have heard various

:05:48.:05:52.

Nationalists and republicans allude to. They have complained this is a

:05:52.:05:56.

one-sided forum. Unionists talking to themselves won't solve the

:05:56.:05:58.

problem. Mr Speaker, in some respects I agree with that. It

:05:58.:06:05.

won't solve the problem. The involvement and the capacity for

:06:05.:06:08.

both the SDLP and Sinn Fein to involve themselves in the outcome

:06:08.:06:13.

of the Unionist forum is essential. If there's disadvantage in the

:06:13.:06:15.

Unionist community, and there is, we want to hear what you're going

:06:15.:06:21.

to do about it, about the disadvantage - the sectarianism,

:06:21.:06:26.

the one-sided inquiry process, the diminishing of Britishness at the

:06:26.:06:29.

expense of the promotion of Irishness - we want to hear your

:06:29.:06:34.

proposals about that. Yes, we do. What I see in terms of the flags

:06:34.:06:37.

protest is a continuation of the denial that's represented by

:06:37.:06:40.

bringing forward this amendment because the amendment on its own,

:06:40.:06:45.

if it had not removed the reference to the Good Friday Agreement, was

:06:45.:06:49.

perfectly acceptable. Asking me to repudiate that agreement is not on.

:06:49.:06:54.

It is a denial of the progress that we've made on the basis not just

:06:54.:06:57.

for the progress that has been made since the Good Friday Agreement,

:06:57.:07:01.

but the value that was added in the negotiations in terms of

:07:01.:07:05.

Halisborough and St Andrews. ways of the past cannot be the way

:07:05.:07:08.

of the future, yet what we're hearing from the leader of the DUP

:07:08.:07:14.

is that violence is a result of the Alliance Party, changing what he

:07:14.:07:18.

called the "established status quo in the City Hall". How has all this

:07:18.:07:22.

violence been brought about just by one action? Then on the other hand,

:07:22.:07:27.

we're told the next day a whole plethora of things is what it's

:07:27.:07:32.

about. There is no mention in any of that about the 40,000 scurrilous

:07:32.:07:36.

leaflets that were circulated in east Belfast intended to bring

:07:36.:07:39.

about the sort of violence that we have. I and my party will not

:07:39.:07:43.

support the amendment from the DUP which is wholly unnecessary and a

:07:43.:07:47.

concerning attempt to dilute the motion and remove a reference to

:07:47.:07:51.

the Belfast agreement. Indeed, it's deeply concerning that Mike Nesbitt,

:07:51.:07:55.

the leader of the Ulster Unionist party, does not see that as a

:07:55.:08:01.

concern as a key signatory to that agreement. They're entitled to be

:08:01.:08:05.

republicans and Nationalists, so they'll put forward a particular

:08:05.:08:08.

agenda. We have the alliance who claim themselves to be a non-

:08:08.:08:14.

sectarian party, and let me deal with that in a moment or two.

:08:14.:08:19.

THE SPEAKER: Order. But in terms of all of this, whenever we have

:08:19.:08:22.

particular agendas being met and fulfilled, that can cause real

:08:22.:08:26.

damage to a community. For example, when it comes to historic inquiries,

:08:26.:08:30.

for example, when it comes to public inquiries - there seems to

:08:31.:08:35.

be entirely a focus - what is aimed against the loyalist community and

:08:35.:08:39.

people who have engaged in loyalist terrorism... I think it's important

:08:39.:08:42.

we recognise the Good Friday Agreement was not about endorsing

:08:42.:08:46.

someone's aspirations. I, let me repeat this, am not remotely

:08:46.:08:50.

interested in whether anybodying a there's I am entitled to or have

:08:50.:08:54.

aspirations. I have no aspirations. I have political objections and

:08:54.:08:58.

rights. What I am fearful about is if I was a listener to this debate

:08:59.:09:02.

outside of this House today by the end of this debate I would have to

:09:02.:09:05.

work out as a member of the public out there, have I anymore

:09:05.:09:08.

confidence at the end of this debate about what's going to happen

:09:08.:09:13.

on our streets in the days, weeks and months ahead, or am I going to

:09:13.:09:19.

be less confident by what I hear in this chamber? I am disappointed the

:09:19.:09:22.

member that's just spoken didn't actually deal with the furore going

:09:22.:09:27.

on around his comment, Mr Speaker, when the motion is explicit around

:09:27.:09:31.

condemning acts of violence, pace and all of that. Given what he said

:09:31.:09:35.

in respect of if he was living in the Short Strand - he can correct

:09:35.:09:39.

this quote if I am wrong - I'll certainly give way to him. He said

:09:39.:09:42.

given what was happening there, if he lived there and his property was

:09:42.:09:46.

being attacked, he would be out throwing stones as well. I'll give

:09:46.:09:50.

way to the member. I am very happy to clarify that because I want to

:09:50.:09:57.

make it clear, as I said to Mr Nesbitt early on people student be

:09:57.:10:00.

misquoting anybody. Unless people stand up and say what the problem

:10:00.:10:03.

actually is and identify the problem, then you will not deal

:10:03.:10:07.

with it. And I made it very clear - I will actually defer to another

:10:07.:10:11.

member because members of his party - colleagues sitting beside him

:10:11.:10:14.

commended him last year for shooting at people who he said were

:10:14.:10:18.

attacking his home. He has made an assertion about something he knows

:10:18.:10:22.

nothing about, and his assertion is wholly and completely wrong. He's

:10:22.:10:25.

made it on radio as well, and he should be very careful about what

:10:25.:10:30.

he's actually stating. Mr Speaker, we can't support the final sentence

:10:30.:10:34.

around the Belfast Agreement because that agreement, indeed - or

:10:34.:10:38.

some of the reasons why people are so aggravated and annoyed and out

:10:38.:10:43.

on the streets, so that is why we couldn't support that. I note Mr

:10:43.:10:46.

Nesbitt has clarified what he meant of that in terms of the spirit of

:10:46.:10:50.

the Belfast Agreement. I accept on that context what he's said, but

:10:50.:10:53.

the letter of the Belfast Agreement which the members opposite have

:10:53.:10:58.

said that we should be accepting we're wholly opposed to. Others who

:10:58.:11:01.

have created the tensions that exist, include the Prime Minister

:11:01.:11:08.

David Cameron, apologising for what happened around Pat Finuken. What I

:11:08.:11:11.

hear is an apologist for how the security forces defended our

:11:11.:11:14.

country, and they exploit a particular narrative that

:11:14.:11:17.

republicans want to portray that they were the heroes, the security

:11:17.:11:23.

forces were the bad guys, and the Prime Minister is pandering, and I

:11:23.:11:26.

note Raymond McCartney nods his head in agreement - no surprise,

:11:26.:11:29.

and the Prime Minister then panders to that particular narrative, and

:11:29.:11:33.

that's wrong, and that's why people are out there agitated. The flag is

:11:33.:11:40.

flown on designated days here in Stormont, but the Unionist Parties

:11:40.:11:45.

forgot to tell their protesters that they forgot to explain that in

:11:45.:11:50.

agreements that are reached, you have to reach compromises, and what

:11:50.:11:53.

they have been doing is pretending that things are the same as they

:11:53.:11:58.

were before. Things are not the same, and it's better for everyone

:11:58.:12:02.

that they aren't. Mr Nesbitt said, and I quote, the

:12:02.:12:08.

Union flag is everyone's flag in this region. That's not true.

:12:08.:12:13.

Consenting, as we do as Nationalists, to this region

:12:13.:12:15.

remaining part of the United Kingdom as long as its people wish

:12:16.:12:22.

it to, is not becoming British. I'm joined now by Stephen Walker,

:12:22.:12:27.

political correspondent with the website The Detail. A bad-tempered

:12:27.:12:31.

debate today. It doesn't augur well for a solution on the streets if

:12:31.:12:34.

they can't agree on the hill. agree. It was a fractious debate,

:12:34.:12:38.

the second they have had in 48 hours. Yesterday wasn't ill-

:12:38.:12:40.

tempered, but showed the capacity to go in that direction, but today

:12:40.:12:44.

we have seen a lot of argument. I think that's reflective of the fact

:12:44.:12:48.

that despite us being seven weeks into this crisis, we still have no

:12:48.:12:52.

united political response. All the parties condemn the violence, but

:12:52.:12:56.

as we saw from today, thereafter they then divert off into different

:12:56.:13:00.

arguments, counter one another on why the crisis happened, where it

:13:00.:13:03.

might go, how it could be dealt with. As I say, I think that's

:13:03.:13:06.

reflective of the fact we don't yet have a united front from Stormont

:13:06.:13:09.

in the face of what we're seeing on the streets, and of course, it

:13:09.:13:13.

doesn't augur well for the wider picture and doesn't augur well for

:13:13.:13:16.

the visit of the two governments, which is due for Thursday. What

:13:17.:13:21.

when it comes down to it, then, there was a lot of discussion about

:13:21.:13:25.

Alex Maskey today, but he did end up having a surprising ally. Again,

:13:25.:13:30.

a lot of the heated elements of the debate focused on the comments that

:13:30.:13:34.

were thrown back at him today. He defended his remarks and said he

:13:34.:13:38.

had condemned vile eands was referring to attacks on

:13:38.:13:41.

individuals' homes. That obviously didn't satisfy the DUP, but there

:13:41.:13:46.

was some surprise to see he got if not backing, then certainly some

:13:46.:13:50.

understanding from Unionists. That was Mr Copeland from the Ulster

:13:50.:13:53.

Unionist party. Mr Copeland obviously represents the east

:13:53.:13:56.

Belfast constituency and is familiar with what's going on there,

:13:56.:13:59.

and he said having seen homes of his constituents being attacked, he

:13:59.:14:02.

understood where he was coming from. That was a surprising twist in the

:14:02.:14:06.

debate. When it comes to the motion, then, and the DUP amendment, how do

:14:06.:14:10.

you see that playing out next week? Well, on the one hand, it's a

:14:10.:14:13.

largely procedural issue. There was a request that the vote be held

:14:13.:14:17.

today. That wasn't possible. It has been kicked into the session due to

:14:17.:14:20.

take place Monday, but I think what's more of interest about it is

:14:20.:14:24.

that the - it all centres on a request on the part of the DUP to

:14:24.:14:27.

have a reference to the Belfast Agreement, the Good Friday

:14:27.:14:32.

Agreement, removed from the motion. That then led to an argument in a

:14:32.:14:36.

sense about the significance of the agreement, so we're about to mark

:14:36.:14:40.

its 15th anniversary, and here we are still at Stormont still having

:14:40.:14:43.

arguments around that peace deal. Thank you very much.

:14:43.:14:47.

Staying on the theme of the ongoing civil arrest, the Justice Minister

:14:47.:14:51.

was asked this afternoon whether the PSNI's current resources are

:14:51.:14:55.

sufficient to deal with it. He said they had been up until now, but if

:14:55.:14:59.

the trouble continues, the police budget could face pressures this

:14:59.:15:09.
:15:09.:15:10.

It's an operational matter for the Chief Constable. I have been in

:15:10.:15:13.

frequent contact with the Chief Constable over the past weeks,

:15:13.:15:17.

including yesterday, and have received his assurance that he, at

:15:17.:15:20.

present, has adequate resources to deal with the situation. I can also

:15:20.:15:25.

inform the House, that the Chief Constable has commissioned an

:15:25.:15:29.

internal assessment of PSNI resilience to meet the demands of

:15:29.:15:34.

the coming years. 2013 will be a challenging year for the PSNI, with

:15:34.:15:42.

the G8, World Police and Fire Games and the City of Culture. These

:15:42.:15:46.

events take place during the parading situation and it Mr Will

:15:46.:15:52.

place pressure on the police in terms of financial resources.

:15:52.:15:58.

notice the PSNI say they have adequate resources at present,

:15:58.:16:03.

could he tell us what contingency is in place with regard to

:16:03.:16:07.

resources and assessment of the impact of current policing demands

:16:07.:16:13.

on the PSNI budget? Well, I'm advised by the Chief Constable that,

:16:13.:16:17.

if the current situation on the streets persists, alongside the

:16:17.:16:21.

issues which have to be faced in terms of a severe threat from

:16:21.:16:24.

terrorism, there may well be pressures on the police budget

:16:24.:16:28.

within this current financial year. That is currently being worked on

:16:28.:16:32.

by the police and I have no doubt the department officials will have

:16:32.:16:37.

to play a part. It may well be there will be a role relating to

:16:37.:16:40.

the department of finance and personnel. Wider issues, in terms

:16:40.:16:44.

of the non-financial resources, are an issue for the Chief Constable to

:16:44.:16:47.

address. Clearly, there are issues like mutual aid from other police

:16:47.:16:55.

services in connection with events like the G8. Minister, we have

:16:55.:17:01.

learnt to date that it has cost �7 million for the ongoing street

:17:01.:17:04.

protests and I listen with interest with the member who asked the

:17:04.:17:09.

question there. He is one of the people who initially encouraged

:17:09.:17:13.

people on to the streets. Does the minister agree with me that this

:17:13.:17:20.

cost will have a negative impact on policing resources? Well, I can

:17:20.:17:24.

certainly agree with Mr Linch there are costs being incurred by the

:17:24.:17:28.

police at the moment. �7 million which appeared in the media was an

:17:28.:17:32.

extrapolition from the figures published the, the detailed figures,

:17:32.:17:36.

which police had costs for a fortnight in December. Those costs

:17:36.:17:39.

were something in the region of �3.8 million. Clearly, some people

:17:39.:17:44.

have worked on from that. I understand we will not see the full

:17:44.:17:47.

detailed figures for another two three days for the cost into

:17:47.:17:52.

January. One of the costs which is unnecessary on policing, if we

:17:52.:17:57.

could resolve matters further in this place, is the cost of policing

:17:57.:17:59.

our divided community. There is a responsibility on members in this

:17:59.:18:04.

House to do all they can in the actions they take to assist in

:18:04.:18:08.

providing a community that is less divided and, therefore, reduce the

:18:08.:18:14.

cost to policing? Well, Deputy Speaker, it is certainly the case

:18:14.:18:17.

there are very significant costs for the Police Service because we

:18:17.:18:22.

are a divided society, as I've just said, I believe there are

:18:22.:18:25.

significant obligations on each of us to do what we can to avoid that

:18:25.:18:29.

and reduce tensions. It is difficult to estimate what those

:18:29.:18:33.

costs are. There is no doubt, by comparison with what would be the

:18:33.:18:38.

case for a similar police service in any part of Great Britain, or

:18:38.:18:43.

indeed areas that the gardai, with a similar population, the costs of

:18:43.:18:45.

policing in Northern Ireland are significantly higher. That is a

:18:45.:18:49.

cost which falls to us at the expense of other public services.

:18:49.:18:53.

Back in October, a High Court judge ruled that a ban on gay and

:18:53.:18:58.

unmarried couples adopting children was ill Lille. Today, Edwin Poots

:18:58.:19:01.

confirmed that he has lodged a notice of appeal against the

:19:01.:19:07.

decision. The issue was raised by the Green Party leader, Steven

:19:07.:19:13.

Agnew during question Time. A child growing up in a loving family home,

:19:14.:19:18.

with a gay parents, would somehow be worse off considering especially

:19:18.:19:23.

as gay individuals can adopt? of course we are always looking for

:19:23.:19:27.

the best interests of the children. That is why we want to bring new

:19:27.:19:31.

adoption legislation to the Assembly. That's a course of work

:19:31.:19:38.

we are currently engaged in. That is with the office of First and

:19:38.:19:41.

Deputy First Minister at this moment in time of I hope it will be

:19:41.:19:44.

brought before the Executive quite soon. In all of those things we are

:19:44.:19:48.

wanting to move things forward. In the course that piece of work, a

:19:48.:19:54.

public consultation was had. That public consultation elicited the

:19:54.:19:59.

views of just short of 1050 people and organisations, of that, over

:19:59.:20:04.

1,000 of those persons and organisations were opposed to

:20:04.:20:11.

changing the law away from the existing stance. The member shakes

:20:11.:20:16.

his head. He may want to listen to the views of 3% or 4% of the

:20:16.:20:21.

community and ignore the views of 95% or 96% of the community. He

:20:21.:20:24.

would do well to pay attention to what the community is saying?

:20:24.:20:30.

Account minister outline if he believes or if if he had legal

:20:30.:20:33.

advice or indication that the current legal process, whether he

:20:33.:20:38.

is going to appeal or not appeal, could or would hold up current

:20:38.:20:44.

timetable of the adoption bill? Well, I don't think it should. We

:20:44.:20:48.

can proceed with the adoption bill. Afterall, we need to be very clear

:20:48.:20:53.

about this. When it comes to these issues, this House will make the

:20:53.:20:58.

laws. Courts will interpret the laws, not the other way round. It's

:20:58.:21:02.

for this House to make the decisions. We are the elected body

:21:02.:21:07.

of the people who make laws and we should not give up that position of

:21:07.:21:10.

making the laws. That is something that has been given to us by the

:21:10.:21:15.

people, not to other organisations, we should make the law, and the

:21:15.:21:20.

courts should interpret the laws. Would the minister agree with me

:21:20.:21:25.

that there are so many children still waiting to be adopted that it

:21:25.:21:30.

is a good idea to widen the pool to have more people to be able to

:21:30.:21:35.

adopt children? No, I wouldn't agree with her at all. We already

:21:35.:21:39.

have a wide pool and the numbers of children that are waiting to be

:21:39.:21:43.

adopted, in Northern Ireland, are not considerable compared to other

:21:44.:21:49.

areas. We always have to act, first and foremost, in the best interests

:21:49.:21:54.

of the child. I will always act in the interests of the child because

:21:54.:22:01.

it is not a human right to adopt people need to get that very clear.

:22:01.:22:05.

We must always ensure that the human rights of the child are

:22:05.:22:09.

ensured. We will look at all of the issues relating to foster care,

:22:09.:22:13.

relating to care in homes and all of these things, we need to reform

:22:13.:22:17.

the system, we need to move the system forward. We need to advance

:22:17.:22:22.

the system. People can get up on particular hobby horses, but they

:22:22.:22:28.

don't provide solutions. I'm looking for solutions. How will the

:22:28.:22:32.

new legislative proposals tackle delays? Currently, our adoptive

:22:32.:22:36.

process is a Low slower adoptive are cress as is the case in England.

:22:36.:22:41.

We believe we can shave eight months off the adoptive process if

:22:41.:22:44.

we carry out the legislative process we are looking at. There is

:22:45.:22:48.

work to be done. The process needs to be adopted, amended and changed.

:22:48.:22:52.

That is the course of work we are looking at. We will not be

:22:52.:22:55.

distracted by other issues in moving this forward in the best

:22:55.:23:00.

interests of the children. You might remember the controversy when

:23:00.:23:02.

Marie Stopes, the first private clinic to offer abortions in

:23:02.:23:05.

Northern Ireland, opened in October. Well, representatives of Marie

:23:05.:23:09.

Stopes were put under the spotlight by the justice committee on

:23:09.:23:16.

Thursday. As we can hear now, in our weekly look at Committee

:23:16.:23:20.

Business: Marie Stopes is providing services within the framework which

:23:20.:23:26.

was found to be lawful and in line with NHS provision and medical term

:23:26.:23:30.

nition of pregnancy. It has been, it always has been, without

:23:30.:23:39.

question, our goal to work with ) inaudible) to be regular lailted by

:23:39.:23:43.

that body to ensure that politicians and that the public can

:23:43.:23:47.

have confidence that our centre and services provide the highest

:23:47.:23:50.

quality and standards of care within the law as it currently

:23:50.:23:54.

exists. How many clients have you dealt with in terms of providing

:23:54.:23:57.

termination? What we need to be very clear about, the services we

:23:57.:23:59.

provide in Northern Ireland, we provide them because men and women

:23:59.:24:04.

come to us they absolutely trust us and we are a trusted provider. We

:24:04.:24:09.

will not be releasing any figures or any numbers around the number of

:24:09.:24:17.

men and women that we've seen within our clinic. How would

:24:17.:24:27.
:24:27.:24:30.

releasing the figures reveal the confidentiality of anyone? Well,

:24:30.:24:35.

within, again, we want to make sure that Northern Ireland is a small

:24:35.:24:41.

place. There is only our one Kleinic werk want to maintain the

:24:41.:24:46.

confidentiality and of the men and women of the clients we see. In

:24:46.:24:50.

England we release figures on a national basis. If the law changed

:24:50.:24:54.

within Northern Ireland and we were asked to do that we would

:24:54.:24:59.

absolutely fully co-operate. are saying that you are doing the

:24:59.:25:04.

requirement that you have to do, but there are other circumstances,

:25:04.:25:07.

the Chair referred to this, where openness could be required. You are

:25:07.:25:11.

dealing with elected members for whom this is a very important issue,

:25:11.:25:19.

I presume that I'm going to receive that openness. Does the

:25:19.:25:23.

organisation make a decision that the medical, clinical assessment

:25:23.:25:29.

that is have been taken comply with the law? Is that their position to

:25:29.:25:34.

assess every individual assess thament is made and decide that

:25:34.:25:39.

this clinic is complying with the law They are a regulator who have

:25:39.:25:42.

delegated authority from the Department of Health to make sure

:25:42.:25:44.

that healthcare providers operate within the legal framework and

:25:44.:25:49.

within the law. They come in and they inspect to make sure that that

:25:49.:25:53.

is happening. We welcome them coming to our centre as many times

:25:53.:25:57.

as they wish to a I assure themselves and other wrest

:25:57.:26:04.

complying with the law. I repeat again. They do that in respect of

:26:04.:26:07.

the environment, record-keeping, employment and arrangements for

:26:07.:26:14.

staff, procurement, storage and dispensing of medication. I ask the

:26:14.:26:21.

specific question, do they have a role in making an assessment that

:26:21.:26:26.

the clinic, clinical assessments made to justify a termination of a

:26:26.:26:31.

pregnancy being carried out is within the law. Is that their job

:26:31.:26:36.

to say the doctor got it right? points. One is that clearly they

:26:36.:26:40.

don't make the regulations. There are other bodies that do. What they

:26:40.:26:44.

will be able to do. We really welcome that, as you described,

:26:44.:26:48.

they will be able to make sure that the doctors and healthcare

:26:48.:26:51.

professionals are suitibly qualified. They make sure we have

:26:51.:26:55.

the proper governance arrangements in place. We have auditing in place.

:26:55.:27:02.

That we employ... That we have... That we meet the law, in terms of

:27:02.:27:07.

administer ing drugs, which is specific to here today, around

:27:07.:27:11.

medical termination of pregnancy under nine weeks. I'm satisfied by

:27:11.:27:14.

opening our doors to them they will make an assessment of the service

:27:14.:27:18.

that we are providing working within the current law and

:27:18.:27:21.

regulations and framework that currently exist. Are you sure that

:27:21.:27:29.

you are covered to carry out your services within the law? Absolutely

:27:29.:27:36.

and categorically, yes. The speaker we heard earlier on made his

:27:36.:27:39.

feelings clear about politicians showing leadership, do you think

:27:39.:27:47.

they are listening? We didn't see in the clip the initial comments

:27:47.:27:52.

made in measured tones. He spoke about his right as a Republican

:27:52.:27:55.

under the Good Friday Agreement to lobby for constitutional change. He

:27:55.:27:59.

said to the unionist representatives that he recognised

:27:59.:28:02.

the status quo in Northern Ireland's current position under

:28:02.:28:08.

the terms of the agreement. He seemed to be trying to stress his

:28:08.:28:12.

point in references to those members in particular. It was so

:28:12.:28:15.

pointed we wondered was it almost a dress rehearsal for the politician

:28:15.:28:19.

who seems placed to become the next speaker and then he was indicating

:28:19.:28:24.

his ability to understand his own benches as well as those opposite.

:28:24.:28:28.

It has been interesting well, just briefly, on the fact that people

:28:28.:28:32.

are living on the peace lines we heard a lot of discussion about

:28:32.:28:36.

that. That seems to have been lost in the Assembly chamber? There were

:28:36.:28:39.

very interesting comments made this morning in particular, as you say,

:28:39.:28:47.

as the debates unfolded today, it probably got lost. We had comments

:28:47.:28:52.

from community workers representing Protestant families and a

:28:52.:28:56.

representative for Catholic families. They clearly said they

:28:56.:29:00.

wanted tensions removed from their doorsteps and stressing they want

:29:00.:29:03.

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