A political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Tara Mills is the guide through the corridors of power at Stormont.
Browse content similar to 18/10/2011. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Hello and welcome it took Stormont. Inflation may be soaring,
unemployment on the rise amid fears for a lost generation of young
people, but here on the Hill, some members still can't help themselves.
Given that �18.3 million has gone into 14 gale, and forgive my
pronunciation, I have never had a great grasp of foreign languages.
And it was back to hang a member as the Deputy Speaker issued a warning.
It would be unfortunate if I found some members guilty of anti-social
behaviour during a debate on anti- social behaviour. And with me
From slurry spreading to booming food production, there was plenty
of farming taught here today. Jim, you represent food producers. How
do you think the assembly is shaping up in terms of protecting
your interests? I suppose what we have is food production as a main
source of income for our farmers. The ministers believe that it is
the basis on which we can have economic growth, so they are doing
their best to help producers. We are going to have cap reform and
various different things. They meet tomorrow to fight our corner in
Brussels because we need not protection, but help with food
production. We need exports. Through agriculture, we employ it
over 55,000 people, so we hoped the executive can get a good
understanding of our situation. some ways, I do not recession-proof
because of the help you get from a European funding? No, we are not.
If you look at the cost of production, we are not recession
Grove because we have fuel and the same input and costs as other
industries. At the moment we are getting slightly better prices, but
we can only produce a certain amount of product as what the
consumer can afford to purchase. Again, our input costs have gone up,
so we are not recession proof. you are doing well, so you are
unlike a lot of other people in every sector in Northern Ireland.
You have to consider from what base we come from. We have been at a
very low ebb these last few years. Income for farmers has decreased,
so it depends where we are coming from. We have quite a bit to come
up to level the playing field. with us. Now, his Irish a foreign
language? Should dogs get tattoos? Can Northern Ireland farmers feed
the world, and how should we welcome China's gymnasts? All
topics that came up in the pick and mix that is Question Time. He is
the Agriculture Minister on exporting docks. Legislation
requires that the movement of Dogs is in line with the council
directive, and specifically in relation to identification in line
with EC regulations. Article 4 requires dogs to be identified by
means of a microchip, or by a clearly readable tattoo. From 3rd
July any newborn dogs which are to be exported to another member state
will have to be microchip. For dogs being exported to Third World
companies, a health certificate will have to be completed. That may
include conditions such as identification by a microchip or
tattoo, or some other distinguishing mark. I am grateful
to the Minister for her reply. Is she aware of the concerns of many
local dog breeders of future changes to micro chipping
requirements in other countries which may jeopardise future export
markets? In my capacity as an MLA I have met with dog breeders who
expressed those concerns. When it comes to legislation around dog
breeding legislation, I intend to bring that forward in the near
future. What am going to have to do is go out to consultation again to
seek the views of dog breeders. If it is a competitive market, we
don't want to disadvantaged local dog breeders in any way. There will
be a full consultation on the way forward. One proposal is that all
puppies should also have a microchip. The population of the
Earth is expected to hit 7 billion any day now, and that could also
hit one of our highly successful industries. Food production.
Between 2007 and 2010, employment in the food and drink processing
sector has increased by 6%, whereas turnover increased by 30%. In
agriculture, gross output increased by 30%. There is a strong level of
self-belief about the future in the sector. The global human population
is growing rapidly and is expected to increase by 1 billion by 2030.
In addition, water shortages, climate change, are all expected to
impinge on the agricultural production capacity for other
regions of the world. For these reasons, there is belief that this
food sector will continue to blow - - Grove. -- Grove. What we need to
reach is a sure plan for export growth for this important sector.
Culture next, often a fractious session when the Unionists attend
to beat the Sinn Fein minister. The minister is often happen -- happy
to bite back. My department offers funding to small communities, and
in the last five years the Arts Council has provided over 800,000
to bounce across the North. Musical instruments and awards for all and
the small grants programme, again over 800,000. In addition, my
department has produced a toolkit for marching bands which can be
found on our website, which pivots -- provides information and
guidance on encouraging new approaches to maximise
opportunities for development. thank the Minister for her answer.
Can I just ask the Minister, given that �18.3 billion has gone into 14
Gayle - forgive my pronunciation, but a out of their annual budget.
That clearly has had an impact on her ability to fund other projects.
What advice can she get to my constituents who are in marching
bands, who are unable to obtain funding because the criteria of the
Ulster Scots Agency and the Arts Council has been constrained so
much by budgetary reductions? of all, I take exception to the
member describing the Irish language as a foreign language. I
do appreciate his attempt to pronounce it, at least he tried.
The SDLP's minister wants to know if Northern Ireland would benefit
from the presence of the Chinese but gymnasts ahead of the 2012
Olympics. There are key benefits arising from the Chinese Olympics
gymnastics team training here, and not only does it improve -- include
the promotion of sport, but also hit being a world-class venue that
has been chosen by the Chinese. This was raised before, but the
Chinese are coming here with a film crew and with presenters. Each day
during their training this will be broadcast all over China, promoting
potential benefits around tourism. It is important with those
countries of Brazil, Russia and China, economies by the markets are
developing. I think there is a significant boost to having that
attention here, and we are keen to exploit that opportunity for local
investment. Finally, it was back to the DUP's topic of the day. I want
to ask the Minister, has she any plans to have lessons given to the
deputy first minister before he returns to his duties, given the
fact that DG 4 was going to have its Presidential programme but had
to be given in English, given the fact that Michael Higgins was the
anyone who could competently speak the language? Order, order. All
members know that the topic matter must relate to the original
question. Businesses here that have problems
getting money from banks will soon be able to turn to Invest NI for a
loan. The new loan fund is a sign that the agency is responding to
economic Tangiers, or so we are told. - macro economic challenges.
What we have discovered in the business is that small and medium-
sized businesses have been starved of credit by the banks. The banks
say they are lending, businesses said they are not lending. I think
this is a good way by Invest Northern Ireland to circumvent the
banks. If the banks are not lending, then Invest Northern Ireland should
lend. I think this is an imaginative scheme. They have to be
a number of caveats. One, at the time period for repayment should
not be too excessive. Also, in addition to that, the rate of
interest should be in -- reasonable. I know that the rate of interest
being discussed might be higher than the bank rate. Yes, they did
say that. That might put people off. Thirdly, the bureaucracy in terms
of vetting people for a loan should not be excessive either. Is this
replacing grants, or will it run alongside them? I think it will run
alongside grants. This is an extra weapon that Invest NI has brought
to try and stimulate the economy here. As everybody knows, the
economy here it relies very much on small and medium-sized businesses.
This will be a shot in the arm for those businesses, and I hope it
will help businesses to invest and to expand their workforce. We need
that, and this is a good initiative Are you satisfied Invest NI is
operating properly? There is that about what they have given out in
loans and whether they are giving out money generously enough to our
struggling business people? position is this; the reason in the
main why money was sent back to the finance department was because
Invest Northern Ireland could not spend that money because of the
companies they had earmarked to grant the money to had slowed down
in terms of their business operations. In other words, it was
indicative of the sluggishness of our own local economy. That
highlights the problems that we have here - an economy which is not
coming out of recession quickly. this an example of the executive
doing something? �50 million available within three months?
is a great idea. It is a good initiative. I think that Invest
Northern Ireland have responded well to the critical circumstances
that small and medium-sized businesses find themselves in. I
hope this will work. I hope it will work well. They need the help.
Thanks for joining us this evening. Well, you could say it was the
hawks verses the doves in the chamber over, during a debate on
antisocial behaviour T DUP want the police to be given more power to
deal with the problem. Others say that greater partnerships is the
answer. This is the way rather than giving more powered to the --
powers to the police. We would be opposed to the original motion. I
would apose it on three planks. First of all, the police aren't
asking for more powers. Secondly, what powers the police have are not
always utilised properly. Thirdly, experience shows that the best
results come when the police, the community and statutory agencies
work together. Therefore we need to take action now to bring it under
control and then we let these programmes suggested by the members.
There'll be long term, they will be very expensive and there'll still
be people, let's be honest, the vast majority of young people in
Northern Ireland are decent citizens there are young people in
Northern Ireland who are frankly evil in what they're doing to our
communities. They simply, they are feral, they have lost control.
Their parents no longer have any authority over them whatsoever.
They are causing great difficulty. There has to be the strong arm of
the law to bring those people under control. I cannot accept the point
of view that they may end up in prison for a few weeks. I think
they might need that "short, sharp shock" treatment, to realise they
cannot continue to torture their community. Tackling antisocial
behaviour is a key thing of my department. We have intervention
enforcement which has contributed to 20% reduction in this behave
wror since 2007-2008. It is of interest the target was 15% and we
have achieved 20%. If you bothered to do your homework you would have
seen what people say. There is report after report, which says
people want more physical policing, policing on the ground. Would he
make his remarks through the chair. As I was saying, deputy Speaker, as
I was admiring the fine art work around here! I will not give way. I
will not give way because you would not give way earlier when we tried
to have the debate. The issue here is that you have been....
SPEAKER: The order will resume his seat. It would be unfortunate if I
were to find some members guilty of antisocial behaviour. You should
not make a remark from a secondary position. When it came to the vote,
members were on their best behaviour, agreeing a community not
a police response was the answer and the Ulster Unionist motion was
agreed. A breaking story, if you like today,
about the potatoes rejected in Morocco in 2010. There seems to be
some development, but it may not be good for the farm es who sent those
potatoes. The development, as far as I am aware was discussed today
and as far as I'm aware the potatoes were inspected here and
they met the perimeters to be eligible for export. When they
reached their destination there were inquiries and then apparently
they were inspected again. So, I'm not sure exactly what the problem
is now in Morocco. But the difficulty is that there are a
number of producers here who have produced what they reckon is
quality produce to the requirements of the purchaser, which were
certified as such and now... Again it was put to the agriculture
committee, it was put to the represents today that perhaps some
sort of compensation could be sought for the producers. From a
producer's perspective we tonight want to see them losing. There is
dialogue going on. Where money is available for this, it's the same
almost with every avenue - it's all down to finance. �1 million, that
is what the Londonderry City of Culture is looking for from a Leeds
sponsor. They came here to meet MLAs and business people in the
hope of securing money to help them fund the year of events in 2013.
is one of a whole series of engagement events. We were in
Dublin last week. We want to be here in Stormont to tell people in
Belfast, tell community leaders, arts, businesses about the energy
and the buzz and what is happening in Derry being the City of Culture.
Are you looking for sponsorship? are. As you can imagine, it is a
huge challenge to deliver on all of the ambitions. We'll need our
commercial partners. We had BT as our partner. We want others to get
involved with this amazing project. You are looking for a lead sponsor
and it is big money? Yes, it is big money to put on a showcase of
events like the ambition we have for 2013., yes it is big money, and
also this is the first ever time the city has been given the UK City
of Culture title. In terms of benefit back to business it is
unprecedented. What do you think it will mean for the people of Derry?
I think it will be a transformation. I think the impact on the people of
Derry, in terms of their belief, confidence, ambition, ideas - just
that sense of right here in our own town that this can happen. I think,
the same as Liverpool and Glasgow, cities which have held the European
title in the past, I think that catalyst in transformation is what
we're looking for. What about everybody else in Northern Ireland?
What do you think it will mean for everybody else? I think Northern
Ireland is a small place. We work closely together. We are talking
with arts organisations here in Belfast and right across Northern
Ireland. We're working with other local authorities across Northern
Ireland. So, I think the benefits will be felt across the whole
region. And the sense of community then? Yeah, I think people will
find it irresistible as well. There is a sense of energy behind this
project. Even in Dublin last week they described it as there was an
energy happening in the north-west of the island which they hope will
have a viral effect across. That is what we intend to do. Sinn Fein
were accused of chasing rainbows in their attempt to recoup money paid
to the Queen. Around �1 million a year is paid by wind farms and fish
farms in the coastal waters of Northern Ireland. That money goes
into the Crown Estate. Sinn Fein think control of the money should
be given to the executive. If it is not so profitable why would the
Crown Estate want to give that up and hand it back to Northern
Ireland? If we mess around in the way the member is proposing there
is every chance that the opportunity that we have, the
capital -- to capitalise on off- shore renewables and the potential
around his constituency will be lost. Now, it is time to stop
looking at chasing moon beams. We are chasing after nonsense here.
When we are losing sight of the bigger picture. I can understand
the financial attraction of identifying new revenues for
Northern Ireland. Indeed, we need to do more of that. Our recent
experience has shown that some opportunities necessitate a
clawback from the black grant. The recent was the air passenger duty.
We saw the problem that came at a cost to the Assembly. It was to
note that the Scottish Government have their eye on the same issue.
They used to have -- wish to have full devolution of the Crown Estate
in Scotland. 50% has been suggested. But the riches of the off-shore oil
and gas industry remain immense in that part of the United Kingdom.
Realistically there is no chance that the UK Government will offer
arrangements to evolve in some cases over centuries. It appeared
to work very well. This system appears to be efficient. I frankly
doubt it to arrange the commitments any more efficiently than they are
dealt with by the Crown Estates. Sinn Fein's Oliver McMullan
proposed the motion. Are you disappointed it didn't succeed?
am disappointed with the attitude of the DUP. I thought they would
have taken a more gentlemanly point of view. What we're talking about
is money back into the Assembly. It turned into a political agenda
and saving the Crown and saving the union. It has nothing to do with
that, whatsoever. The Crown estate we work with because of its name.
You can call it whatever you want. If the DUP cannot get their head
around what we're trying to do, to bring extra money back into the
assembly they should go back into the streets and tell the people out
there who are in poverty, the people who the community trusts
have stopped taking to hospital for appointments, pensioners who cannot
make the decision to eat or heat. That is what they have to do. It
was very disappoint from their point of view. Personally, they
made absolutely fools of themselves today. Was it good use of Assembly
time? Given if your motion had succeeded we would not have been
able to change the rules on Crown estate? I would not agree with that.
It opened up an avenue of discussion. That is what we were
trying to do. We have the marine -- Marine Bill and that would come in
for discussion. Because reserve matters cannot be touched the
justice power to hand it back here, they reserve matters. All that can
be discussed. That is what we were trying to do. They said 50% of the
income they get back is now going to be given back in the form of
grants. So, in some ways the money is already going back in, isn't it?
We are talking 50% of �1 million. We are talking �450,000. I would
have thought the other � 450,000 the crown east tailt is keeping
would not -- Crown estate is keeping would not made a dent.
Could they not argue and take that off the block grant? If we had it
in one hand it would be taken off the oh thiser? -- of the other?
According to the Crown estate they are looking at taking out new
leases and giving them to these people who want to invest in the
marine. Now, it only follows if you take out new leases you'll up the
rent. That could be �10 million in ten to 15 years' time. If we're
going to give away that money, so lightly, without putting up a fight
for it because Sam mi Wilson told us in the Assembly we have to look
for alternative revenue streams. We have identified one on our back
door. For the DUP to turn it around into a sham fight and retaining the
union, keeping the Crown, and then on the other hand the official
unionists backed the amendment and then turned around and voted
against it. It turned out to be a phase from the union's point of
view today. We'll have to leave it there. Thank you for coming in. Now
the countdown is on to find the new leader of the SDLP. The final
campaign launch happened today. Patsy McGlone, Alasdair McDonnell
and Conal McDevitt set out their stalls. Alex Attwood had the big
guns out today. He had one of the Guildford four praising his
tenacity, saying he was a boxer who punched above his weight. There was
a letter read out. And of course the former MP for South down was
there. He gave an impassioned speech. Indeed he almost threatened
to upstage Alex Attwood himself. We have a clip of that from earlier
today. The Government at the moment in Stormont is not a reflection of
what was intended by the Goodwood Treasure.
The Goodwood Treasure -- the Good Friday agreement. It is about
partnership, reconciliation and co- operation. That is not what we have
there, that is what I want Alec to put there as leader of the SDLP.
course he did address the press conference. He appealed for support
saying he had shown leadership skills at various levels of the
party, including the minister's post. He has three other people in
that race with him. It will be decided the first week into
November. Alex Attwood says he doesn't mind being the underdog.
The cost of north-south council meetings? The executive were given
a hard time when there is a perceived waste of money. The first
and deputy minister said they can save money on north-south
ministerial meetings. They could cut the cost to �5,000. It is a
moutful, but there is some information on the cohesion and
integration strategy? That is known as CSI. In simple terms it is about
a shared future. The proposals were published last July. Criticism at
the time that, although the executive are trying to tackle
issues around sectarianment and peace walls, the critics said the
first and Deputy First Minister's office has not gone far enough in
terms of substance and targets. For example, when will peace walls come
down? There was a public consultation last year. And the
results are now being discussed publicly. The people who carried
out that consultation will brief the office of first and Deputy
First Minister's committee. There'll be a fair amount of
interest in that tomorrow. other biggish shoe facing farmers
is the CAP reform. What do you think of what we know so far?
honest the new document had been leaked. At the same time, what came
out, if you like the aims and aspirations we have, the next year
or more than a year to decide what we can get for Northern Ireland. We
need tweaks and changes to suit the farmers. Thank you very much for
being our guest this evening. That's it from Stormont tonight. We
are back next Monday, of course, at the usual time. Before then you can
A political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Tara Mills 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.