18/06/2013 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 18/06/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Stormont Today. Coming up: The Prime Minister calls Northern


Ireland's recent political progress an inspiration. It is a


transformation that I believe can be an intir ration to the world -- an


spir ration to the world. All of the G8 leaders who came here, commented


how remarkable it was to hold this G8 here.


We will discuss the G8 and Obama and what it means for Northern Ireland


with Stephen McCaffery. A new planning policy to promote tourism


in Northern Ireland is announced by the Environment Minister. This is a


pathway for the provision of sustainable and high quality tourism


Well, it has been quite a week so far. We have had the President of


the United States urging teenagers in Belfast to keep pushing the peace


process forward and for the past 24 hours, the leaders of eight of the


most influential countries in the world have been hold up in Fermanagh


discussing a host of issues. The leaders have left with a deal on tax


evasion in place and a plan to tackle the Civil War in Syria. It


has been a remarkable 48 hours, hasn't it? It has. It has been a


success from the prospective of the Northern Ireland Executive. If they


had written the script, they couldn't have drawn it up better.


David Cameron was clearly delighted delighted himself to host the summit


in Fermanagh. Let's have a flavour of what had he had to say


afterwards. 25 years ago when a terribling bomb


attack killed -- terrible bomb attack killed people down the road a


G8 in count County Fermanagh would have been unimaginable. Today, the


world has seen a new Northern Ireland that is not only beautiful


as you can see from the scene behind me, but a Northern Ireland that is


open for business. It is a transformation that I believe tb an


inspiration to the world. And many of the, I think all of the G8


leaders who came here, commented on how remarkable it was to hold this


G8 here and what a powerful message it sent and what it meant to them.


As you you say, Stephen, the power of pictures there, should not really


be under estimated. The weather was kind, but it did look stunning?


Yeah. I think if you think of this all of this from the prospect


prospective affen an international audience -- of an international


audience, people would be used to seeing riots. Now they get to see


the place from a different prospective and it is hard to expect


that won't have an impact, it is a question of how big or not it will


help tourism. You were down there yesterday so you


got a sense of what was what it was like. Did you feel removed from the


discussion in the resort? The real action was at removed from the local


community. There was a really positive atmosphere and I just


happened to be from Enniskillen and spoke to people I know locally and I


think people are pleased that it happened and they were enjoying the


fun of watching the cavalcades pass through the town.


It is hard to put your finger on the benefits. There were all sorts of


suggestions about hundreds of millions of pounds for the economy.


It will take sometime before we see that come through one way or the


other? There will be a few pinches of salt taken with the prediction of


a multi-million pound benefit. It is hard to see that the benefit


couldn't be positive. We had the President here and that is a major


benefit not just to tourism but as a further support of the political


process. The Environment Minister has


introduced a new planning policy allowing developers to build in the


countryside if it promotes promotes tourism and helps create jobs.


With the spotlight of the world on us, with the particular tension in


Fermanagh -- attention in Fermanagh this new policy is timely and


relevant. As we do so, safeguard our great heritage. It deals with


tourist development in settlement areas and in rural areas. It


protects from inappropriate development. It safeg tour tourism


assets, but it creates opportunities at the same time. The targets for


achievement by 2020 are to increase visitor numbers to 4. 5 million and


to double earnings from tourism to �1 billion. All of that, Mr Speaker


will revolve around the scale of our natural and built herltage where six


out of ten top visitor attractions in Northern Ireland are built on


natural heritage. And the tourist opportunities around them will


create jobs and opportunities for many people. This is not a


free-for-all of tourist development in settlement areas and rural


locations, Mr Deputy Speaker. This is a pathway for the provision of


sustainable and high quality tourism developments. Tourism development


should preferably revolve around settlements whether defined in terms


of being a village or hamlet or a town or a city, clearly because the


sin erge that can be created, tour tourism opportunities can arise.


That's why PPS 16 has a general presumption in favour of tourism


development within settlements. question is a follow on to Ms


Lowe's. And will that criteria include issues of natural tourist


attractions? Like the Mournes like the scausway Coast and would the


Lough Erne Golf Resort get planning permission because there wasn't


always a golf course or other attractions on that site? I am not


saying whether those new standards would apply to Lough Erne Golf


Resort. It is safe to say this, in terms of the use of that piece of


land for tourism opportunities, matching hotel of a high standard


would have a high standard, my judgement is that under previous


policy or under this future policy, in my view, it gets over the line.


Am I right in thinking that for example, under exceptional


circumstances, this new PPS 16 has the worthwhile all to override the


restrictions. Otherwise we would still be coming back to the same old


arguments that we have had for year to get planning in, especially for


the farming community and for the non-farming rural dweller?


member is reading the mood of the House wrong and the content of the


document wrong. If it ends up that we have the same outcome as we did


under the previous needs based test then the member might be justified


in drawing that conclusion. But to draw that conclusion this, the same


old restriction to borrow his language, in terms of this policy,


shaped in that environment reworked since the consul consultation in


order to acknowledge there might be a need in the rural location, I


don't think you can draw the conclusion based on a document


that's just been issued that it will have the same old restriction when


the policy contend is about trying to rework all restrictions and to


have the right constraints and the right opportunities.


The Environment Minister. High level issues were debated during Question


Time today when the roof of Parliament buildings and what flag


flies on it were discussed. Members of the Assembly Commission answered


questions on both topics with the Alliance MLA making it clear, there


is no predetermined outcome for the number of days the Union flag should


be flown over Stormont. The commission has not set out to


outline the number of days in which the Union flag will fly over


Parliament Buildings. The commission tasked officials to bring back a


report following consultation with Assembly parties reviewing the


number of days upon which the Union flag flies from Parliament Buildings


and arrangements for carrying out an EQUIA.


Parties were invited to submit written statements and the responses


have been analysed. Why is there feet dragging on this important


issue? Well, I thank the member for his question. What the commission


agreed to was to detail a range of options and to set out how a preses


of public consultation -- process of public consultation would be carried


out, not to go ahead and proceed with that. There will be a number of


options which we will look at in the report when it is brought to us next


week. Would she agree with me that the


commission took the wise position in June 2002 when it decided ra that


rather the contentious the issues of flags, it would be the issue of the


parties. .s .s. The commission did agree back in 2000 that the flags


issue is a political issue. The procedures of the commission do


allow members to bring a motion forward at any time. When the


commission member brought that motion forward, options have been


looked at and again, one of the options maybe, I have not seen the


paper yet, we will see it next Wednesday, but one of the options


maybe to ask for the assembly working group to look at this and


take it forward. To clarify that point, will the


commission leave it until the deliberations of the working group


on flags and symbols commissioned commissioned has completed this


work? As I have said already, the commission will look at the way


forward on Wednesday. We will look at the options detailed there. I


would imagine that one of the options outlined would be to await


the outcome of the working group, but I can't comment on what the


commission will decide to do. The commission has confirmed that no


noise and disruption to plenary sittings will be toll ratedz during


the construction period and it is looking at options to mitigate


disruption to committee meetings. Is it likely that committee meetings


will be held outside Parliament buildings? Clearly, the assembly


commission looked at a variety of options including holding the


meetings here and we have some staff in the building that will be leaving


the building due to the seriousness of the boshing. There is an option


to -- seriousness of the work. There is the option of retaining the


integrity of the committee meetings within Parliament buildings, but


both that comes with restrictions on the contractor, we have to ensure


there will be no disruption and noise levels when the committees are


taking a place as well due to a number of matters including the


Hansard and the television recordings of those meetings. We are


intending holding a further meeting. This is an issue we need to resolve


before the surmer to get the best -- summer to get the best deal for this


House. The Regional Development Minister


outlined his hopes to cut a deal to finance new road projects following


delays to the A 5 scheme. But when he took to his feet, Danny Kennedy


wanted to recognise the historical days just past. Can I, as it is the


first opportunity I had, to pay tribute I think and place on record


on behalf of myself and indeed my party and I hope the whole House for


the iconic images that Northern Ireland has benefited from as a


result of the G8. I think the whole House will share that. You made


reference to the iconic scenes within the last two hours but some


of those are marked by illegal flags another emblem is being flown from


lamp posts and other buildings that are part of your responsible to you.


What actions are you going to take, Minister, to attempt to have these


flags removed? My department has signed up to the joint protocol and


is generally not perceived to be the lead agency. The Housing executive


and DST are better placed to assume that lead role. My department's main


role under the protocol is to provide the access equipment and the


resources to remove unwanted flags once agreement has been reached that


they should be taken down and the local community is unable to easily


gain access to them. So the onus is working with local communities, as


the member will understand. Following the recent ruling on the


scheme, I wrote to the Finance mist on the 9th of May 2013 to declare a


reduced Budget requirement in relation to the 2013-14 year. It is


essential we quickly be deployed this reduced requirement to apply to


the construction sector and the economy at this time. How many of


those projects are pretty much ready -- our procurement ready? It was a


situation I inherited as roads Minister and to deal with that very


issue and looking forward in terms of financial allocations, there are


schemes that I want to bring forward. They might be described


currently as procurement ready but not otherwise ready and they include


the Asix and indeed the bypass and the A55 and the A26 scheme, so those


schemes that are in the next wave, if you like, of strategic schemes to


be carried out. And I hope it much that both he and his party, at an


executive level particularly, will give me the necessary reassurance to


bring forward other schemes so that we're not in a situation where this


executive has two had money back to the Treasury. The Regional


Development Minister. Access to broadband in rural areas is an issue


brought forward frequently to the House. A Sinn Fein motion called on


targeting areas with greatest need. This is an important issue. This


does not just affect people who are working at home, who have


businesses, but it also affects regular people, just like you and


me, there I said -- dare I say it. It is exhume the frustrating


whenever speeds are so slow at times. There is something that is


more frustrating and I think it is the fact that the broadband


providers almost do treat everyone the same, regardless of the speed of


Internet that they are receiving. All rural consumers should have the


Saints beat as their urban counterparts. Our schools need a


good service. This was one of the problems we had with computer-based


assessment. I have heard concerns raised recently, indeed by the first


Minister, about the displacement of jobs should enterprise areas be set


up in Northern Ireland. The reality is that such poor broadband


provision is having a similar effect in rural areas because it is leading


businesses to relocate elsewhere. Some of the reports that have been


brought forward by Ofcom, be of the structure report, looks at broadband


figures. I do think it is important to reflect on the north-west only


compare Derry as a connected city to the likes of others, were me look at


figures of 12.7% receiving less than two megabytes in Derry. I am afraid


I cannot rise and support the general goodwill on this issue. I am


rather disappointed by the progress that we have actually made in the


process. The four of the top local authorities survey by Ofcom for the


broadband blackspots were Omar and three others , . We have had many


opportunities to discuss this, even though I have said previously that I


was not available. I have made myself available and I'm happy to do


that. I am very happy to agree that there is a continuing need for


further improvement of broadband. That is what we are looking at at


present in its infrastructure, both in roll and urban areas -- in rural


and urban areas. Telecommunications matters are reserved immolation to a


lot of the areas and my department really only has limited powers to


intervene in what is a privatised and regulated market, regulated by


Ofcom. Your party put this motion forward but as we had the minister


say that, it is not a devolved issue. There is not a great deal


more she can do. In terms of rewarding licences and the


regulation of broadband, there is that she can do. It is the private


companies who invest. She can encourage further investment into


those areas. Is she doing a good job or do you think she can do more?


Compared with England, Scotland, Wales and the rest of Ireland, the


percentage of superfast broadband is higher than we have. There are still


do many gaps. We heard about some of the blackspots, if you like,


particularly in the West. Your view is that they are outstripped by


parts of the manor. Places like Fermanagh would be the worst


affected areas because they are the most sparsely populated areas. It is


less attractive for commercial operators to go into those areas.


The view we put forward as MLAs was we need encouragement for these


commercial providers to go into these areas and provide services to


the citizens. Did some businesses not do well out of G8 because


telecommunications got a shot in the arm over the last weekend. Will that


be a lasting thing? There were a few temporary masts put up in


Enniskillen and Lough Erne, so it is not a lasting impact. We are hoping


to see a lasting impact in the long-term. On the G8, you have been


a critic about it in the run-up to it happening. Now it has happened


peaceably, now that mobile man the other leaders have said what they


said as we saw David Cameron saying how wonderful it had been, a great


backdrop to the summit, al you any more positively disposed towards it?


In terms of the actual G8 that took place, I'm happy that there was no


trouble. Fermanagh's image has been promoted around the world as a


friendly place where people are welcome and thankfully the good


weather was there. I'm delighted that the positive image has been


said around the world. Thank you. The Culture Minister today rejected


a suggestion that she should help fund uniforms for marching bands.


She was asked to fund the 600 bands in Ireland. We offer funding to


marching bands from all communities to maintain music making. We're


Premier League concerned with the funding of musical as rents and


tuition to ensure that characters in can be maintained. That does not


covered uniforms. Can we explore further the possibilities that the


marching bands have? I'm happy to meet any minister at a time about


any subject and the test that all ministers are charged with is public


interest. There is an interest here in providing musical as rents and


tuition because that is a skill and talent. The area of uniforms is a


private things for the bands themselves. I'm happy to see any


minister to see what can come forward from that. As of June, the


total number of athletes registered for the games is 5815 with an


expectation of reaching over 7000. This will provide a compressor set


of education resources to inform people about the The World Police


and Fire Games. Just in response to some of the negativity going around


especially from one journalistic source in terms of the reduced


numbers that were predicted. Can the Minister give us any indication of


the results of the spin-off from the competitors and the further spin-off


from those who come with the competitors? It is a good economic


situation and will the Minister ensure that the parliament be


positive in terms of the figures we have? I share the members concerns.


Like spirit as last year around the Olympic and Paralympic Games,


particularly around the torch relay. Not to be petty but there was a


degree of eating humble pie from certain sections of the media. I


expect people, although it is mainly based in Belfast, people will come


out to support the athletes and their families. We will welcome


them. There will be a cultural event around this. The work from the


schools is excellent. The volunteering has been


oversubscribed. That is the -- that is an important aspect. We all


recall the success of the Olympic torch relay and the enthusiasm of


the Minister to be seen to be present when the torch arrived. Will


we have the same enthusiasm and presence when the Queen's Batten


arrives in the run-up to the edges, mother games? -- the Commonwealth


Games? Organisers, coaches and athletes that are taking part in the


Commonwealth Games in 2014, they will be welcome. To suggest anything


else would be churlish. We have had a lot of talk about big


politics over the last 48 hours. Now the focus will be remarked back to


day-to-day politics in Northern Ireland, isn't it? We are back to


business now. In the rap to the and the president 's speech and the


knowledge he was arriving, we had a lot of action with the negotiation


between the parties. What we have seen now is that the welfare


legislation has not been settled so that is a bit of a hangover from


that negotiation ways. That is something that has to be dealt with


as soon as possible and will affect a huge amount of people who are all


be under pressure because of the recession. The clock is really


taking on that because the House breaks up in the first week of July.


It is not act until the start of September. This is indeed be made


now. If people aren't going to lose outdoorsy end of the year. It does


come down to that, doesn't it? were one or two deadlines that could


not be passed and we have passed them. It shows how difficult a topic


it is it affects modern peeping directly than some future projects


because when these cuts to hit, they will hit the people who are already


feeling the pinch from the economic problems. There is obviously a high


degree of nervousness between the parties about how they will be all


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