16/06/2014 Stormont Today


16/06/2014

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.


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The SDLP backs Sinn Fein in its attempts to to stop Gerry Kelly

:00:25.:00:30.

The Finance Minister addresses comments from

:00:31.:00:33.

an HBO executive that Belfast isn't the most cosmopolitan of cities.

:00:34.:00:35.

And joining me in the studio with his thoughts is

:00:36.:00:38.

Did I break the law technically? Yes I did. That's why I accepted the

:00:39.:00:47.

informed warrant. The Finance Minister addresses

:00:48.:00:54.

comments from an HBO executive that Belfast isn't

:00:55.:00:56.

the most cosmopolitan of cities. Given the World Cup at the minute,

:00:57.:01:05.

when it comes to filming locations, we are not Hollywood, we are

:01:06.:01:09.

Northern Ireland. Well speak for yourself.

:01:10.:01:15.

And joining me in the studio with his thoughts is

:01:16.:01:17.

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly was facing a five-day suspension from Stormont,

:01:18.:01:26.

A Stormont committee voted for the penalty after he was reprimanded by

:01:27.:01:31.

Mr Kelly had jumped on a police Land Rover

:01:32.:01:36.

Unionists said the informed warning from police

:01:37.:01:41.

wasn't enough, demanding he be charged with obstructing justice.

:01:42.:01:45.

But Mr Kelly's party and the SDLP have decided

:01:46.:01:48.

the suspension isn't appropriate and are using a petition of concern

:01:49.:01:53.

to vote down the decision by the Assembly's Standard's Committee.

:01:54.:01:57.

Here's the Speaker to explain there'll be a vote tomorrow.

:01:58.:02:08.

It was presented in relation to this motion. Order! Order! Order,

:02:09.:02:23.

members. The vote therefore will be in a cross-party basis and we will

:02:24.:02:29.

respond tomorrow. It will be the first member of, the first business.

:02:30.:02:36.

The motion relates only to the committee report and recommendations

:02:37.:02:42.

following complaints about an incident that took place in north

:02:43.:02:44.

Belfast on 21st June, 2013. So to explain just what all this

:02:45.:02:56.

means I'm joined by Alex, first of all,

:02:57.:02:58.

remind us how Gerry Kelly got into this situation, as he technically

:02:59.:03:02.

did break the law last year. Well, let's see what members made

:03:03.:03:05.

of it all today when He said he had to get on the vehicle

:03:06.:03:19.

and they said to stop that. I think they were concerned about the

:03:20.:03:23.

gathering around of the vehicle. I think Gerry Kelly got his informed

:03:24.:03:28.

caution, the driver got one, the young men banging on the window got

:03:29.:03:32.

one. I have no idea why the Assembly is even discussing this. I think

:03:33.:03:36.

unionists were concerned that this warning didn't even amount to a

:03:37.:03:40.

caution, so how surprised are you that the petition of concern has

:03:41.:03:45.

been tabled? I think you have to be concerned any party deciding what

:03:46.:03:52.

does and doesn't constitute justice. The process was carried through but

:03:53.:03:56.

the petition of concern kills off the debate. It is one of those

:03:57.:04:00.

things I don't understand. When you know a debate is not going anywhere,

:04:01.:04:06.

when it can't even be carried, the only consequence of continuing with

:04:07.:04:09.

it is that the two sides will do what they always do, the finger

:04:10.:04:13.

pointing and the name calling and we'll end up worse off tomorrow

:04:14.:04:18.

morning than we were today. So the 30-strong petition force as cross

:04:19.:04:23.

community vote, which means the majority of people have to agree to

:04:24.:04:29.

punish Mr Kelly? The petition of concern has only one purpose - to

:04:30.:04:34.

kill a debate or protect someone. Alex, thank you.

:04:35.:04:41.

Well, let's see what members made of it all today when

:04:42.:04:44.

It's very clear that unionists believe Gerry Kelly should be

:04:45.:04:48.

punished for his actions, while nationalists are leaning

:04:49.:04:49.

It follows that in committing the offence of impeding a constable in

:04:50.:05:01.

the execution of his duty Mr Kelly failed to uphold the law as required

:05:02.:05:06.

by the members' code of conduct. It states that members should promote

:05:07.:05:10.

and support the other principles by leadership and example in order to

:05:11.:05:13.

establish and maintain the trust and confidence of the people of Northern

:05:14.:05:16.

Ireland, and to ensure the integrity of the Assembly and its members in

:05:17.:05:20.

conducting business. The committee acknowledges that Mr Kelly did seek

:05:21.:05:23.

to demonstrate positive leadership on the evening in question. His

:05:24.:05:29.

intention had been to defuse a tense situation and he used his influence

:05:30.:05:37.

to direct the crowd and facilitate the passage of the police. However,

:05:38.:05:42.

he failed to show leadership when he obstructed the police vehicle. No

:05:43.:05:47.

matter what was happening that night I don't think there is any excuse

:05:48.:05:53.

for being on the bonnet of the PSNI Land Rover. You wouldn't catch me on

:05:54.:06:00.

the bonnet of a Land Rover. LAUGHTER Mr Speaker, while we are

:06:01.:06:03.

discussing the issue of the conduct of MLAs, I feel it necessary to put

:06:04.:06:08.

on record my grave disappointment at the level of DUP hypocrisy today.

:06:09.:06:17.

Hear, hear. When Ruth Paterson, a councillor... Order! We are straying

:06:18.:06:25.

away from the report. Let us deal with what's in the report and

:06:26.:06:30.

nothing more and nothing less. Mr Speaker, it is about inconsistency

:06:31.:06:40.

in relation to today's debate. When Ruth Paterson, a councillor from the

:06:41.:06:47.

DUP was charged... Order! Once again, the member will know this

:06:48.:06:53.

will be a very difficult debate. Help me to manage this debate. I say

:06:54.:06:58.

to all members of the House, really the member is straying into a

:06:59.:07:03.

different issue and a different incident. We really must come back

:07:04.:07:08.

to the report. I'm trying to help the member. I rise to oppose the

:07:09.:07:13.

motion. When you look and listen to the demeanor and attitude of the

:07:14.:07:18.

members opposite, had this is a farce, a charade, a pantomime. If

:07:19.:07:24.

you look at the laughs on and their faces and the guff airstrikes ws and

:07:25.:07:39.

the inter-- and the guffaws. I would suggest he is a bit confused, since

:07:40.:07:44.

he is more used to the back of a Land Rover than the front. It is

:07:45.:07:49.

uncome bent on every single one of us to ensure that tensions are

:07:50.:07:54.

calmed and that the heat is taken out of this summer. Just for the

:07:55.:08:00.

record, because I know there've been a number of heckles, I am the member

:08:01.:08:07.

from the SDLP is on the committee of standards and privileges. I did

:08:08.:08:11.

leave the meeting. It wasn't because I was spineless. If I was spineless,

:08:12.:08:16.

I wouldn't be talking right now. It showed that the police were trying

:08:17.:08:20.

to deal with this in a proportionate way, unlike the DUP and the unionist

:08:21.:08:25.

members of the Standards and Privileges Committee. So did I break

:08:26.:08:29.

the law technically? Yes, I did. That's why I send the informed

:08:30.:08:38.

warrant. But let me say this to all members here, especially members,

:08:39.:08:42.

some of which are sitting across the way, who have to deal with these

:08:43.:08:48.

difficult situations. You need the flexibility to make decisions on the

:08:49.:08:52.

spot which you think will help the situation. That's exactly what I was

:08:53.:08:56.

doing. No, I won't give way. That's what I was doing on the day. I

:08:57.:09:02.

listened to your heckling earlier. I wish you would shut up. Order!

:09:03.:09:05.

Order! The SDLP's Alban Maginness provided

:09:06.:09:11.

Sinn Fein with the signature it needed to complete

:09:12.:09:13.

its petition and stop Mr Kelly's Why are you riding to Gerry Kelly's

:09:14.:09:24.

rescue? We are not riding to his rescue, we are simply ensuring that

:09:25.:09:28.

there is fairness and due process in relation to the incident of 21st

:09:29.:09:33.

June of last year. It is very important to get things into the

:09:34.:09:38.

context where Gerry Kelly helped to defuse a very difficult situation

:09:39.:09:44.

involving the aftermath of the tour of the north and I think that the

:09:45.:09:50.

committee in its majority determination did not treat him

:09:51.:09:54.

fairly. But he did himself admit that he technically broke the law.

:09:55.:09:58.

He sits on the Policing Board. Surely he should be held to a higher

:09:59.:10:03.

standard? Well, the first point is he send an informed warning. That

:10:04.:10:08.

the prescribed by law. In other words he admitted that he

:10:09.:10:11.

technically broke the law, and accepted responsibility for that.

:10:12.:10:15.

That remains on his record for the next year. That's how the law deals

:10:16.:10:20.

with it and that's how the PPS proposed to deal with it and did

:10:21.:10:26.

deal wit. The second point is he was trying to defuse a very difficult

:10:27.:10:29.

situation. He should have been given credit for that. That was not

:10:30.:10:33.

credited to him by the committee. The committee sought to have him

:10:34.:10:39.

excluded for five days. That, we believed, was excessive. Anna Lo,

:10:40.:10:44.

incidentally, proposed in the committee he should be given the

:10:45.:10:48.

opportunity to possible to the Assembly in relation to this

:10:49.:10:51.

incident and that was voted down. Why don't you suggest that he

:10:52.:10:55.

apologise before you signed the petition of concern? Well, we

:10:56.:10:59.

discussed a number of issues, but the important thing was to meet the

:11:00.:11:04.

substance of the the report, which was presented to the Assembly. We

:11:05.:11:08.

thought that was important and to highlight the issue of

:11:09.:11:12.

proportionality in terms of the actual sanction that was imposed on

:11:13.:11:18.

Gerry Kelly. But members are required to uphold the law.

:11:19.:11:20.

Shouldn't there be consequences when they don't? Absolutely. What would

:11:21.:11:25.

you suggest is the appropriate address? I think in the

:11:26.:11:29.

circumstances, and I was there, by the way. I was a witness to what

:11:30.:11:34.

happened. I saw what Gerry Kelly. I myself and others tried to calm the

:11:35.:11:39.

situation as well. The point I would make is that any penalty imposed on

:11:40.:11:44.

him would have to be proportionate. A it wasn't and it was excessive.

:11:45.:11:52.

Would you be applying the same approach if Nelson McCausland... If

:11:53.:11:55.

there was a situation in which he was trying to defuse a situation in

:11:56.:12:01.

similar circumstances, where he received an informed warning and

:12:02.:12:04.

broke the law technically, I would be saying yes in those circumstances

:12:05.:12:09.

he should be given the benefit of the doubt and in fairness he should

:12:10.:12:13.

receive a lesser penalty than that proposed by the committee. OK. Thank

:12:14.:12:16.

you very much. It was good news that was supposed

:12:17.:12:22.

to be delivered today by Ministers, but the BBC was ahead of

:12:23.:12:25.

the game when it reported last week that the Open Golf Championships

:12:26.:12:28.

are returning to Northern Ireland. It didn't stop the Enterprise

:12:29.:12:31.

Minister heading to the North Coast Arlene Foster did have to give

:12:32.:12:33.

Question Time a miss though and sent in Simon Hamilton as a substitute.

:12:34.:12:46.

The Minister gave notice to the business committee last week that it

:12:47.:12:50.

might not be possible for her to return from official business

:12:51.:12:52.

outside Belfast in time for questions and the very good news, in

:12:53.:12:58.

terms of the Open would allow members to understand why that

:12:59.:13:02.

situation has arisen. The Minister of finance and personnel will

:13:03.:13:04.

therefore respond to questions on her behalf today. Since the

:13:05.:13:09.

abolition of air passenger duty, we've seen no additional

:13:10.:13:14.

destinations and, indeed, we've heard recently of the suspension of

:13:15.:13:18.

the only direct flight from the North to the United States. And I

:13:19.:13:23.

wonder if I could ask the Minister if the removal of air passenger duty

:13:24.:13:28.

has not been as successful as was first anticipated. I think it was

:13:29.:13:34.

successful, primarily in achieving its number one target, in terms of

:13:35.:13:44.

the long haul air passenger duty, and the Assembly subsequently

:13:45.:13:47.

reduced air passenger duty the long haul flights down to zero. It was

:13:48.:13:51.

successful and its primary purpose, to save the New York to Belfast

:13:52.:13:56.

route. I share the Minister's disappointment that that service is

:13:57.:14:00.

now going to move from a 12 month, year-round service, to a ten month

:14:01.:14:06.

service, which will affect me to mid-March of next year. --

:14:07.:14:14.

mid-January two mid-March. If there is a silver lining to the

:14:15.:14:18.

disappointing news, what I hope it does is make the route more

:14:19.:14:24.

profitable and, therefore, sustainable. I welcome the fact that

:14:25.:14:28.

united airlines have confirmed that the route is secure, albeit that it

:14:29.:14:31.

is going to be reduced to ten months. There is an interesting

:14:32.:14:37.

point of discussion following from this, into the ongoing work that my

:14:38.:14:42.

department and the Minister of enterprise and investment's

:14:43.:14:45.

department is doing in respect of our conductivity study, which is

:14:46.:14:49.

going to look at many things, including the impact that air

:14:50.:14:54.

passenger duty has on attracting roots and keeping roots in place. It

:14:55.:14:57.

is interesting to note that whilst we have ?0 in terms of air passenger

:14:58.:15:04.

duty for long haul flights, it hasn't been enough to keep it in

:15:05.:15:14.

place for 12 months. What is the Minister's view of the recent

:15:15.:15:18.

comment by an HBO executive who said it wasn't the most cosmopolitan city

:15:19.:15:24.

to spend half a year in Belfast. I'm tempted to, given the World Cup is

:15:25.:15:29.

on that there is an old saying in this part of the world, that we are

:15:30.:15:33.

not Brazil but Northern Ireland, but when it comes to filming locations,

:15:34.:15:37.

we're not Hollywood, we're Northern Ireland. I understand that the

:15:38.:15:41.

comments were made about being away for six months. I'm sure that

:15:42.:15:46.

anybody, no matter who you are, being away from your home and your

:15:47.:15:49.

family for six months is a difficult thing to do. I have to say, though,

:15:50.:15:56.

that the relationship between HBO and the Northern Ireland Executive

:15:57.:16:01.

has been incredibly productive. Seasons five and seasons six have

:16:02.:16:04.

already been secured for Northern Ireland, so it seems we are doing

:16:05.:16:10.

something right in respect of HBO. The golfer featured during questions

:16:11.:16:14.

to the regional development list as well but first, it was traffic

:16:15.:16:17.

calming measures and the issue of speed limits that took his

:16:18.:16:20.

attention. But the Minister confirmed that his

:16:21.:16:23.

department has no plans to implement the mad policy of traffic calming in

:16:24.:16:32.

town centres by opposing blanket 20 mph speed restrictions as have been

:16:33.:16:37.

suggested by some members of the Green Party and other fringe

:16:38.:16:42.

parties? The issue of the implementation of 20 mph schemes is

:16:43.:16:46.

being carefully looked out. We are bringing forward pilot schemes to

:16:47.:16:53.

better inform our view on that and I think that's a sensible approach,

:16:54.:16:59.

rather than a widespread change, implementing, perhaps, changes that

:17:00.:17:04.

we blame our communities are not quite prepared for. Can the Minister

:17:05.:17:08.

state what level of income the new super councils would hope to earn

:17:09.:17:12.

from having responsibility for such car parks and will they be in charge

:17:13.:17:19.

of arrangements, and local car parking charges? Over 303 and

:17:20.:17:23.

charged car parks will, as is envisaged, transferred to the

:17:24.:17:30.

councils, with an estimated value of some ?46 million. That is what

:17:31.:17:34.

they're worth, not what they earn. Let's be clear on that. Work is

:17:35.:17:40.

ongoing to determine a final list of car parks that will transfer, but I

:17:41.:17:47.

think in the region of ?8 million per year is generated. Will the

:17:48.:17:50.

Minister give a commitment to this House today that he will consider,

:17:51.:17:56.

given that he has time, putting investment to an even greater amount

:17:57.:18:05.

to the A26 and the railway line going to Portrush, and, of course,

:18:06.:18:09.

investment in the stations from Belfast to Portrush and from Larne

:18:10.:18:14.

to Portrush, to make sure the infrastructure is in place? I'm

:18:15.:18:19.

grateful to the Member for his question and it is tremendous news

:18:20.:18:25.

and I'm sure the whole house rejoices in the fact that it is now

:18:26.:18:36.

indicated that the Open will be held in Royal Portrush in 2019. We had

:18:37.:18:41.

the huge success of the Irish Open in 2012 and we are due to have a

:18:42.:18:47.

return visit of the Irish Open in Portrush even before 2019 and,

:18:48.:18:56.

indeed, to Royal County Down and the surrounding area in 2015. So I think

:18:57.:19:01.

it is very important indeed that overall infrastructure and transport

:19:02.:19:06.

infrastructure is improved. I'm very happy and proud to say, as an Ulster

:19:07.:19:13.

Unionist minister, that we will bring forward the scheme that will

:19:14.:19:22.

see the upgrading of the A26 with monies and with the good intent that

:19:23.:19:28.

my colleague indicated from his party. I look forward with

:19:29.:19:34.

confidence to getting more money to perhaps improve that network of

:19:35.:19:39.

roads further. And, of course, the member will no that the

:19:40.:19:47.

Coleraine-Londonderry line was saved and effectively rescued by this

:19:48.:19:50.

minister and by this political party, so we're very conscious of

:19:51.:19:57.

the role that we have. Getting to and around the north

:19:58.:20:00.

coast remained the focus for Benny in the chamber today as a motion was

:20:01.:20:04.

brought calling on the roads minister to invest in the area.

:20:05.:20:10.

Dual carriageway the whole way to Coleraine on a phased basis, the

:20:11.:20:19.

A37 roadster Coleraine, and the bypass would alleviate congestion

:20:20.:20:28.

and road problems. It is vital but I point out that the A37 is the rout

:20:29.:20:33.

used by emergency ambulances transferring patients to hospital.

:20:34.:20:43.

Therefore, improvement in journey times can be viewed as very

:20:44.:20:48.

beneficial to patient outcomes. I was looking last night at a brochure

:20:49.:20:54.

from the causeway coastal Alliance about it being one of the world's

:20:55.:20:58.

greatest road journeys and when you look at the roads from Derry through

:20:59.:21:03.

Coleraine, Barry Castle, all the way through to Larne, in the summer, in

:21:04.:21:12.

the peak period, for the world's greatest road journey, we only have

:21:13.:21:19.

two buses a day from Coleraine to Larne and vice versa. We need a

:21:20.:21:24.

proper bus service along that route, not only for local people but

:21:25.:21:29.

also for tourists, as well, and I think it's a case of "build it and

:21:30.:21:36.

they will come". I'm disappointed that nobody mentioned the ferry

:21:37.:21:41.

service between McGilligan and Greencastle and perhaps that is

:21:42.:21:46.

something that needs to be examined. With a long-term view to developing

:21:47.:21:52.

tourism, going both ways, because international tourism knows nothing

:21:53.:21:55.

about borders and partition. When I think of the contribution made to

:21:56.:21:58.

the north-west by the department of regional development, we often

:21:59.:22:04.

forget that North Coast community transport provides an essential

:22:05.:22:08.

service. It fills a gap for the many people who inhabit rural areas but,

:22:09.:22:12.

unfortunately, cannot readily access public transport services because of

:22:13.:22:18.

reduced mobility. The train service between Derry and Belfast is crucial

:22:19.:22:22.

and it is a wonderful service for those towns that are part of the

:22:23.:22:27.

route. However, the nature of the rail service is that they only serve

:22:28.:22:33.

towns where they stop. We should be looking to bolster this with an

:22:34.:22:37.

integrated transport system, which means that there is a simple way for

:22:38.:22:41.

people to travel to stations to catch the train, whether by private

:22:42.:22:46.

car or, more preferably, public transport. To go by public bus from

:22:47.:22:56.

Belfast to the Giant's Causeway, our prime tourist attraction, can take

:22:57.:23:00.

as long as 3.5 hours. That just should not be. And surely,

:23:01.:23:06.

particularly in the summer season, it is possible to have a better

:23:07.:23:11.

facility than that. I'm also mindful that the north coast is more than

:23:12.:23:13.

just a place to visit. Communities live there, businesses operate

:23:14.:23:20.

amongst that breathtaking scenery, and it's vital that we create

:23:21.:23:27.

high-quality local and regional transport connections to provide

:23:28.:23:33.

access to major towns. This ensures that goods and markets and workers

:23:34.:23:39.

and jobs can link seamlessly. I wish to see local businesses expand their

:23:40.:23:43.

markets across Great Britain and the Republic of Island and throughout

:23:44.:23:46.

the EU and beyond. Race relations and the treatment of

:23:47.:23:49.

ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland has been a huge issue in

:23:50.:23:53.

recent weeks and today, the Assembly took the opportunity to recognise

:23:54.:24:00.

Refugees Week and talk about the importance of people from other

:24:01.:24:05.

communities coming here. Mike Nesbitt brought the motion before

:24:06.:24:10.

the House. The theme for community relations week this year is building

:24:11.:24:17.

a united community, while Refugee Week focuses on different pasts,

:24:18.:24:22.

shared future. It is fitting that community relations week and Refugee

:24:23.:24:29.

Week coincide in 2014, providing us with a timely reminder that when we

:24:30.:24:34.

speak of uniting communities we must look beyond our two communities in

:24:35.:24:40.

our society. And if it is the case, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the Deputy

:24:41.:24:46.

First Minister has signed off on the racial equality strategy, let the

:24:47.:24:51.

measure of FM and DFM B, when it comes to the publication of that

:24:52.:24:56.

racy quality strategy, that it deals with all the issues that it needs to

:24:57.:25:00.

deal with one it comes to the issue of immigration. -- race equality.

:25:01.:25:06.

What needs to happen in areas where frequent racist incidents occurred

:25:07.:25:09.

to promote root jewel understanding and challenge sectarian attitudes.

:25:10.:25:17.

-- mutual understanding. We must encourage reporting, supporting

:25:18.:25:20.

victims in a way which demonstrates care and sensitivity, and ensure

:25:21.:25:25.

that perpetrators of hate crimes are brought to justice and face the full

:25:26.:25:33.

weight of the law. Both weeks are time for us to celebrate the ethnic

:25:34.:25:37.

and cultural diversity of our community and it is important to

:25:38.:25:40.

note that Long gone are the days when there could have been perceived

:25:41.:25:46.

to be two or three communities here. Ireland is changing and in a really

:25:47.:25:54.

amazing way. Growth in recent years friends challenges and

:25:55.:25:57.

opportunities. We either show a strong, united voice on this issue

:25:58.:26:01.

or create a vacuum in which people draw their own conclusions which can

:26:02.:26:03.

often end up with the most damaging consequences. In recent weeks, we've

:26:04.:26:09.

seen greater need to understand each other's backgrounds, not only

:26:10.:26:13.

Catholic and Protestant but those from other ethnic minorities living

:26:14.:26:16.

in Northern Ireland. The shared future has to be for all the people

:26:17.:26:21.

of Northern Ireland. Alex Kane has rejoined me. You aren't a football

:26:22.:26:26.

fan but what about the Gulf? By the time the Open gets here in 2019, do

:26:27.:26:30.

you think we will lead still talking about flags? -- we will still be

:26:31.:26:37.

talking about flags? I think we will be. That debate is going to roll on

:26:38.:26:43.

and on way past 2019. My colleague Mark Devonport was reporting last

:26:44.:26:45.

week that the talks will start next week and I was reading earlier that

:26:46.:26:50.

the talks are now going to start next week so it doesn't appear that

:26:51.:26:53.

anyone is in any hurry to get down to brass tacks. We've had talks

:26:54.:26:58.

about whether we were going to have talks and whether we would have

:26:59.:27:02.

talks after that. They're not agreeing on anything. They said it

:27:03.:27:05.

last week in the hope that it would buy them a bit of time. The very day

:27:06.:27:12.

after Robinson announced these, they were arguing over it. They need to

:27:13.:27:18.

agree upfront, sit down the template and the blueprint. If they don't

:27:19.:27:23.

agree, there is no point even announcing talks. It is hard not to

:27:24.:27:28.

go past what Peter Robinson said some time ago - that if it takes

:27:29.:27:31.

three weeks, three months or three years, it will take as long as it

:27:32.:27:35.

takes stop a lot of people think it is going to be three years.

:27:36.:27:40.

The optimists think it will be three years. You can't go on like that. It

:27:41.:27:45.

is absolute nonsense. When he became First Minister and said he could

:27:46.:27:48.

work with Martin McGuinness, it wasn't on the basis that it might be

:27:49.:27:51.

ten years before they do anything. He sold it on the basis they could

:27:52.:27:55.

resolve the big issues. They have done diddly squat. The two of them

:27:56.:28:00.

may as well go and play Gulf for the next three years because it has been

:28:01.:28:03.

a complete and utter dereliction of duty. The Queen is coming to Belfast

:28:04.:28:08.

next week. She's going to be Martin McGuinness, which is getting to be a

:28:09.:28:12.

bit of a habit. I think she's doing it deliberately, just to annoy the

:28:13.:28:16.

hell out of him. He can't get out of it now. He has to shake her hand, no

:28:17.:28:21.

matter how often or where she turns up. More power to her elbow. Let her

:28:22.:28:27.

enjoy it. I suppose it's a way of normalising these meetings, that

:28:28.:28:31.

people get bored of the whole thing. Nobody ever gets bored of politics

:28:32.:28:34.

in Northern Ireland. That's the tragedy and the joy and it keeps me

:28:35.:28:39.

employed. We'll let you get back to the World Cup that we know you love

:28:40.:28:41.

so much. Thank you. I will be back again at

:28:42.:28:44.

the same time tomorrow night. Until then, goodbye.

:28:45.:28:47.

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.