20/09/2011 Stormont Today


Late night political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Tara Mills guides viewers through the corridors of power at Stormont.

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Hello and welcome to Stormont Today, where we distil the finest speeches


from the Assembly and bring you the intoxicating highlights. On


tonight's programme, David Ford faces his first question time of


the new term and, despite some progress, he notes there is still


work to do on peace lines. I am clear their community consent


remains the key driver for change, however their areas where agreement


for positive change does not exist. Measuring up for the job - but are


too many of these creating weighty issues for our MLAs?


Are training colleges here producing too many teachers?


Teaching union leader Tony Carlin is here to discuss the latest


Are we training too many teachers here? With those leaving college


struggling to get jobs, the Education Minister is under


pressure to do more to help. Is following the Scottish model and


introducing a guaranteed employment for one year the solution? Or does


it just push the problem further down the line? Let's get the views


of one union. Tony Carlin is from The Irish National Teachers


Organisation. How are we training too many teachers? We would


disagree that we are because there are still disciplines work is


difficult to get those specialisms. We believe that the teacher


training colleges operate an admission policy and that that


policy dos generation professional teachers. On to money, they may


find work, but not in Northern Ireland's. That is the problem.


teacher I heard this morning, did his class of 22, on the five have


got jobs. We talk continually to newly-qualified teachers throughout


the year and provide them with experience and the skills that are


necessary to go for interviews, but we continually find that their


unsuccessful. They compete vigorously for employment and in a


market place or each one of them is highly skilled, but they're not


able to get those jobs other than substitute implement. Would you


like to see the Scottish model employed, giving every new a fight


- - every newly qualified teacher when you have experience? We have


been at the front are proposing this. It is an important step and


it would give newly-qualified teachers the experience but the


need. It would allow them to see if they are suited to teaching in the


classroom. The minister today set the we would wait to see the


outcome of an evaluation of what happened in Scotland, but the


longer we wait the longer more teachers would leave to work in


Scotland or England, Wales or further afield. Bottomley, our


training colleges will become training colleges and only that and


we will become a training agency were expertise it exported to the


benefit of people not here. The Justice Minister, David Ford,


is never far from the headlines and he was up taking questions today


with the Police Ombudsman high on the list. Before that, Peter


Robinson was facing his first questions of the new term. Here he


is answering a question from Daithi McKay on an inquiry into


institutional child abuse. executive at its meeting on 7th


July discuss the inter-departmental task force recommendations and


asked junior ministers to contact survivors over at the coming months


to talk about those recommendations. Junior ministers have that with


five victims and survivors groups and ministers had met with the


officials responsible for managing historical abuse of inquiries in


Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The information gathered


will inform our report will be submitted to the executive before


it makes its final decision in the autumn. Can I thank the Minister


for his answer. This is a sensitive issue, but can I ask if he


recognises the concerns of many of those who suffered abuse at round


the issue of whether people can be compelled, and will any inquiry


have statutory powers? This is something the executive has to


decide upon. The member is probably aware that we have received a


report on the task force. But recommends and non-statutory


inquiry, however during the course of meetings with the victims'


groups there was a view from victims which will lead towards us


believing that they wanted a statutory inquiry. I am not sure


that all the victims are aware of the pros and cons of a statutory


inquiry. There is the possibility of us looking at something like


that proposition they might have some elements do other statutory


basis and some not. I would point out to victims and sells that if we


take the statutory route the only statutory provision that is


available to us would limit the period of an inquiry to between


1973 and 1989 and I don't think that is going to assist victims. If


we have to bring forward new legislation it could be two years


before we would be proceeding. I acknowledge the work the first


and Deputy First Minister have done on this issue. Can I invite the


First Minister to acknowledge to the house but it is about getting


this right rather than getting it quickly and that the needs of


survivors will only be able to be properly met, albeit over a longer


period of time, if we do have a fleet independent statutory based


inquiry. I Twohig knowledge that it is important that we get it right.


Every party will have their own views and not all victims agree on


what the process should be. It is important that if we have a


statutory inquiry but the statutory element of it does not increase the


paean that victims have already gone through. In many cases, if


they have to give evidence to be cross-examined, but may well do it.


You can have a statutory inquiry were the only person who will be


obliged to come is the person he is accused. Next up was David Ford's,


taking questions on the Police Ombudsman. Does the Minister accept


that the independence of the ombudsman's office has been law to


such an extent but the current ombudsman longer enjoys the


confidence of the Sinn Fein, SDLP and many families affected by the


conflict? Kit is clear that there are concerns about the independence


of the Office of the ombudsman, but a rare fare the member to what they


said yesterday that it is clear that the vast majority of work


being done to the on button office is proceeding well and has been


received well by those who refer cases and those who receive those


reports back. The issue of dealing with the star it matters is an


issue which has added complication to the ombudsman's office. What is


clear is that we require a functioning ombudsman's Office to


deal with current cases and the Ombudsman has himself said that he


is willing to picket the offices and as a replacement is appointed.


Would the Minister agree with me that the original role which he has


outlined of the ombudsman was to investigate current police cases


where there are complaints, and with regard to that rule the


Ombudsman Office has done what anybody would describe as a


reasonable job, and that moving him into the remit of investigating


historical cases has led to huge problems with in that department?


Yes, I will agree with the member on what the original perception may


have been. The reality is we are required to have a good mechanism


in place to deal with this Turkish Jews. At the moment the ombudsman


Office does that. At the moment there is no alternative mechanism


in place and its it is the duty on a number of other people, and not


on the ombudsman, to find an alternative mechanism which might


help this society as a whole resolve the outstanding issues of


the past. Kier David Forde is responding to a question on the


issue of peace lines. I am clear their cupidity consent is the key


driver for change and a recognise the work done by community groups


to bring about the right conditions for change, however there remain


areas where agreement for positive change does not yet exist.


Following the riots in East Belfast in June and in support of the


review being carried out, I commissioned a review of the


security infrastructure in the area. I visited the area to speak at


local clergy and officials are mad about it had held meetings with


committee representatives and local residents to hear their concerns.


Some work has been done to improve security fences on the law


Newtownards Road and Bridgend. In addition, the Bryson Community


Enterprise Building, which has been used as a launching pad for a tax,


has been made more to cure. I'm currently considering what further


measures need to be taken to ensure public safety. There was a call


today for no more hokey kokey round the executive table! The serious


point was when would a programme for government be made? I think


that the complaints about why it has taken so long to be produced


are somewhat misplaced. The previous speaker mentioned but the


nature of the system of government but we have were we have five


parties in a mandatory coalition, by its very nature makes it more


difficult, and not just by parties but five parties have fundamentally


different views, makes a much more difficult to produce a document


such as a programme for government than it might be elsewhere. But


slows things down. We have seen that with other major issues. I


would be happy, and am sure many members would be happy to see a


different form of government but would speed things up, but as far


as I can recall the party which has brought this motion forward still


opposes a different form of government that would speed things


up, so you can have it both ways. You can't complain about the system


Pat Rice things to a halt then oppose any changes to it. Two of


the parties have been acting in a hokey kokey approach to the


executive, Wonford in and one for about. When the executive was going


away to try to deal with these circumstances, one minister for the


Ulster Unionist Party... the bigger spending department said nothing


over the entire meeting. I hope their march from Tom Elliot will


show a new approach, but the parties will come together. While


some members have questioned did delay in bringing forward the


programme for government, now is not the time to point fingers.


Instead we need to look forward and I believe our constituents want us


to do that, at how we are to achieve a more realistic


sustainable and necessary programme for government. Dominic Bradley


joins us now. Once that the income will want that outcome is that of


the SDLP did last time? I think it is ironic, that remark coming from


Conor Murphy of Sinn Fein, but on the very day that his Deputy First


Minister Martin McGuinness stepped out and if John O'Dowd stepped in


again... of the criticism that Conor Murphy has directed towards


us would be better if it was directed to his own party. They are


two different scenarios. He is saying that unless you go into


opposition and the proper opposition party you should accept


what has put on the table and come together and put some of the


differences aside for the good of the wider public. We are fully


participating in the executive, but that does not mean to say the


people like herself as a backbencher is going to say it's


like a nodding dog passing everything that is proposed by Sinn


Fein. That is not the reason I was elected. I was elected to hold the


government to account and that is what I intend to do, whether it be


at committees or on the floor of the assembly as they did today.


Some of the points you put forward, looking at tourism and food, they


are important sectors, but shouldn't there be a greater


emphasis on manufacturing and exports? I did say during the


course of my contribution to day that we need to grow a private-


sector to produce more wealth and to be less dependent on a public


sector which has gradually been eroded by the government in London.


I would be in favour of growing the industries that you have penchant,


but a programme for government is much wider and it is the policy


which direct spending and without that, spending can be directionless,


and that is dangerous. The whole process of forming a programme of


government I believe allows people to participate in democracy. It


allows the trade unions to have their say and allows non-government


organisations to have their say and it gives a greater by into


government. I believe that process of forming the Programme for


Government should be almost complete by now. We did leave the


Budget to the last minute and anybody listening today may have


felt quite frustrated by the end of its thinking why don't they just


get on with it instead of talking about it all day? If you remember


back to that period, the stumbling block was difficulties that Sinn


Fein presented to the formation of the Budget. Now they are trying to


lay the blame at the doorstep of the SDLP. Six months after the


Budget with no programme for government, I don't think that is


acceptable. That is where brought the motion today. I hope the debate


will give some impetus to the process and that we will have a


programme for government sooner rather than later.


It was a case of 'must try harder' as MLAs spent most of the afternoon


debating that problem of graduate teachers unable to get jobs. One


newspaper today claimed around 5,000 young teachers are out of


work. The issue has come up time and time again in the Chamber and


the DUP's Michelle McIlveen, a former teacher herself, said it was


like Groundhog Day. It was June 2007, over four years


ago, that the issues surrounding the employment prospects of newly-


qualified teachers were first raised in a notice of motion before


the assembly, and now we're here once again debating this issue.


to recalled that the be its and the one think that they defined


remarkable is that since four years ago the situation with regard to


recruitment of new teachers is getting worse. Two years ago it was


sitting up 14 % who found implement straight away, last year it was 10


%. This year it is 5%. Whilst I agree with you that we are having a


Groundhog Day Today, it is unfortunately now far worse for


those who have gone through the teacher training this year then it


was four years ago, which I think you will agree with the is


regrettable. A we will have to look shortly of the merger of


Stranmillis and Queen's, for my money we have to bite the bullet


and the cats in Aires as well. We are producing too many teachers


with not enough jobs. The minister should take the decision and manage


the labour supply of our teachers. The reality is that there are many


principles and when the need a substitute teacher they ring up a


former teacher. The ring of somebody with the experience which


perpetuates itself. But we are not going to give these young teacher


to chance to get started, they will never be able to get into the


system. That is the human tragedy of this. Young teachers are being


overlooked for these temporary posts. Many school principals are


taking the easy way out. I have friends to a retired teachers and I


have said to them you're keeping a young person I do the job. But is


something we have to face up to. I call on the department to visit to


this. I know some guidelines have been issued, but they are being


ignored. My department has a reducing guidance out to schools.


We have changed the current funding formula which means that schools


will meet the cost of debt. There are members of the education


committee wanting to change that. They see it as a burden on the


schools. You can have it both ways. We can only do it through


legislation, or through taxation. We have insureds that schools are


being on a church on how they employ staff, and I would encourage


any member of the Assembly who is a member of the board of governors to


use their influence when it comes to new employment matters but they


insist that the board of governors at here to the guidance and insist


that the boards of governors give a chance to newly-qualified teachers.


Abbott also say that in terms of the Reporting Scotland, I am aware


that Scotland has provided a year's for newly-qualified teachers. It


has been costed and will cost us �20 million a year. It is carried


the been reviewed by the Scottish Executive. I have asked my


officials to monitor the situation and report back to me. If there are


favourable recommendations coming out of that, I can assure you I


will bring it to the attention of the committee and to the executive


to fund any opportunity to ensure our newly qualified teachers are


Where does your union's stand on that a merger? We have not made a


decision formally on that. If there is one college, then we will look


at those proposals. Ultimately, the education training colleges need to


meet -- make the needs of the schools in Northern Ireland.


you minded towards supporting a merger? Put in Chile it will save


money. It may save money, but ultimately, the it training


colleges did to deliver what is needed by the schools. If we lose


expertise or jobs, then there may be issues. Would like to see what


the proposals are in detail before we would comment on those


specifically. Thank you. 21 very brave MLAs have signed up


to an eight-week programme to lose weight and improve their lifestyles.


They agreed to be measured and weighed in return for advice on


shedding a few pounds. It is part of a wider drive to get us all to


think a bit more about our health. One of the brave souls, the DUP's


Jim Wells is here now. You were very brave indeed to allow yourself


to be weighed and measured in public. We are, I think, but I


think we will need the spotlight of the media to embarrass us and


forces into losing weight and getting fatter. This is a very


useful program that not only makes us healthier but highlights obesity


and its impact on people's health. You do not look as if you need to


was a few Pounds. Unfortunately, when the tape measure came out, it


revealed that I have a 45 inch waste. I am probably the right


weight, but that is all on the wrong place. It is all around my


stomach. That has an impact on vital organs. This that the sticks


are clear that the heavier you are around the waist, the more


vulnerable you are to illness. is easier said than done, isn't it,


to put the chips and chocolate away and go for the fruit and vegetables.


I think what the team have shown has already is that it does not


have to be a miserable experience. If you eat well and eat properly,


you will have some success. They are asking us to do two hours of


exercise a day. That means that if he were doing that, that is a bit


of exercise. Our problem is that we spend the but majority of a ten


minutes dented the position. -- in her sitting position. Are bowls of


fruit part of this drive? Yes, that there is a step in the right


direction. The caterers here are good at offering good, nutritional


and the vegetarian option. The problem is that we spent 90% over


time sitting us we are now and not getting any exercise. The results


are inevitable and it gathers round the waist and that is dangerous.


Good luck with it. Martin McGuinness handed in his


nomination papers today for the Irish Presidency. And he is not the


only MLA heading south. For that and the other goings-on at Stormont


today, I spoke to our political editor Mark Devenport.


Jim Allister felt there was an attempt to silence him. Yes. It was


more notable for a question not being asked than being asked. The


question is whether the officer First Minister needed aid adviser.


He was re-routed because his question was directed instead to


the finance departments, against his wishes. This is something that


he objected to. I direct you to the content of question three. It is


Department specific, it relates precisely and asking why they need


eight special advisers. Why, in those circumstances, is this


question been diverted to a different department, particularly


when one examines that rules and can find no authority for that. I


have taken the trouble of consulting the business of us.


concern is that this is a conspiracy. It comes after an been


not called to speak on the debate today. He thinks that the powers


that be here are simply growing tired of him making his voice of


constant opposition heard. Despite what was said yesterday about


business as usual for the Assembly, it was not quite that way. Where he


may have many talents, he cannot spot himself and be in two places


at once. There had been due to be a meeting of party leaders happening


today, walking presumably on incomes like the programme for


government, but that had to be recruited as well, largely because


Mr O'Dowd was dealing with an education debate and that is the


kind of by the clash that they will have to try and work out if they


are going to proceed smoothly over the next six weeks. And even more


MLAs are on the move now. Yes, we were reporting last night about


MLAs from the Regional Development Committee going off to examine a


bus way. Perhaps while they are there they can look at the French


way of solving Protestant afoot was back in the 16th century. Whilst


they were off to France, the had various agricultural minded MLAs


from the agriculture committee planning a completely different


furrow. They were at the ploughing Championships at Kildare. It may be


hard over the next couple of days to find and Emily still month --


still around the place. -- MLA. There are lots of other questions


facing her system rather have done the newly qualified teachers.


are trying to work through the strategic forum to try and come up


with solutions. Interestingly, in relation to the newly qualified


teachers, is to say that if we propose to the teacher -- the


Minister when he looks at newly qualified teachers, perhaps it


might be right that the voluntary sector employed people in a nursery


education. Also it would look at the picture of employing lecturers


and keeping newly qualified teachers from obtaining post.


that an anchovy by Abel? Normally people in that sector did bid


substantially less. When you look at the cost, newly qualified


teachers are not that much more expensive. We are asking the


Minister to look again and instead of giving teachers, give it newly


qualified teachers employment and not just leave it that we have to


Late night political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Tara Mills guides viewers through the corridors of power at Stormont. She is joined by key guests and decision-makers, making the experience enlightening and entertaining.