20/09/2011 Stormont Today


20/09/2011

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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Transcript


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

:00:26.:00:30.

from the Assembly and bring you the intoxicating highlights. On

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

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

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

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

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

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too many of these creating weighty issues for our MLAs?

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Are training colleges here producing too many teachers?

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Teaching union leader Tony Carlin is here to discuss the latest

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

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struggling to get jobs, the Education Minister is under

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

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

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

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

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

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disagree that we are because there are still disciplines work is

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difficult to get those specialisms. We believe that the teacher

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training colleges operate an admission policy and that that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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unsuccessful. They compete vigorously for employment and in a

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

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

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

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

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

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it would give newly-qualified teachers the experience but the

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

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

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

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

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

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training colleges will become training colleges and only that and

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

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

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

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

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

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is answering a question from Daithi McKay on an inquiry into

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:04:06.:04:07.

institutional child abuse. executive at its meeting on 7th

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July discuss the inter-departmental task force recommendations and

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asked junior ministers to contact survivors over at the coming months

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to talk about those recommendations. Junior ministers have that with

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five victims and survivors groups and ministers had met with the

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officials responsible for managing historical abuse of inquiries in

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Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The information gathered

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will inform our report will be submitted to the executive before

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

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

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

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

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have statutory powers? This is something the executive has to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that proposition they might have some elements do other statutory

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

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take the statutory route the only statutory provision that is

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

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

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

:06:14.:06:24.
:06:24.:06:26.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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taking questions on the Police Ombudsman. Does the Minister accept

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

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such an extent but the current ombudsman longer enjoys the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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outlined of the ombudsman was to investigate current police cases

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

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Ombudsman Office has done what anybody would describe as a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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on the ombudsman, to find an alternative mechanism which might

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help this society as a whole resolve the outstanding issues of

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

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

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

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

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areas where agreement for positive change does not yet exist.

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

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review being carried out, I commissioned a review of the

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

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

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committee representatives and local residents to hear their concerns.

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

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Newtownards Road and Bridgend. In addition, the Bryson Community

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

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

:10:48.:10:58.
:10:58.:11:01.

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

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

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

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

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are somewhat misplaced. The previous speaker mentioned but the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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opposes a different form of government that would speed things

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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some members have questioned did delay in bringing forward the

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

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

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

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sustainable and necessary programme for government. Dominic Bradley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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opposition and the proper opposition party you should accept

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

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

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

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

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like a nodding dog passing everything that is proposed by Sinn

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

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

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

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

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

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emphasis on manufacturing and exports? I did say during the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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government I believe allows people to participate in democracy. It

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

:15:47.:15:52.

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

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government. I believe that process of forming the Programme for

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

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Budget to the last minute and anybody listening today may have

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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programme for government sooner rather than later.

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

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

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

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

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

:17:05.:17:14.

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

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

:17:18.:17:22.

qualified teachers were first raised in a notice of motion before

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:17:32.:17:33.

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

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

:17:38.:17:43.

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

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

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

:17:55.:18:00.

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

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Groundhog Day Today, it is unfortunately now far worse for

:18:05.:18:08.

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

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

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

:18:16.:18:22.

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

:18:22.:18:25.

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

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

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

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

:18:42.:18:46.

former teacher. The ring of somebody with the experience which

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

:18:51.:18:55.

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

:18:55.:19:01.

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

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overlooked for these temporary posts. Many school principals are

:19:09.:19:14.

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

:19:14.:19:17.

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

:19:17.:19:23.

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

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

:19:27.:19:36.

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

:19:36.:19:41.

We have changed the current funding formula which means that schools

:19:41.:19:48.

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

:19:48.:19:51.

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

:19:52.:19:59.

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

:19:59.:20:09.
:20:09.:20:10.

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

:20:10.:20:16.

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

:20:16.:20:20.

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

:20:20.:20:24.

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

:20:24.:20:30.

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

:20:30.:20:33.

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

:20:33.:20:40.

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

:20:40.:20:45.

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

:20:45.:20:51.

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

:20:51.:20:54.

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

:20:54.:21:02.

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

:21:02.:21:06.

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

:21:06.:21:10.

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

:21:10.:21:14.

to fund any opportunity to ensure our newly qualified teachers are

:21:14.:21:24.
:21:24.:21:27.

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

:21:27.:21:32.

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

:21:32.:21:37.

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

:21:37.:21:46.

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

:21:46.:21:50.

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

:21:50.:21:55.

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

:21:55.:22:03.

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

:22:03.:22:08.

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

:22:08.:22:12.

the proposals are in detail before we would comment on those

:22:12.:22:21.

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

:22:21.:22:23.

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

:22:23.:22:26.

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

:22:26.:22:31.

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

:22:31.:22:34.

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

:22:34.:22:40.

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

:22:40.:22:45.

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

:22:45.:22:50.

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

:22:50.:22:54.

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

:22:54.:22:58.

useful program that not only makes us healthier but highlights obesity

:22:58.:23:04.

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

:23:04.:23:09.

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

:23:09.:23:17.

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

:23:17.:23:26.

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

:23:26.:23:31.

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

:23:31.:23:35.

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

:23:35.:23:45.
:23:45.:23:45.

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

:23:46.:23:51.

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

:23:51.:23:55.

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

:23:55.:24:01.

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

:24:01.:24:06.

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

:24:06.:24:15.

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

:24:15.:24:21.

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

:24:21.:24:31.
:24:31.:24:33.

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

:24:33.:24:38.

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

:24:38.:24:44.

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

:24:44.:24:48.

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

:24:48.:24:52.

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

:24:52.:24:56.

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

:24:56.:25:02.

Good luck with it. Martin McGuinness handed in his

:25:02.:25:05.

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

:25:05.:25:09.

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

:25:09.:25:15.

today, I spoke to our political editor Mark Devenport.

:25:15.:25:23.

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

:25:23.:25:31.

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

:25:31.:25:35.

question is whether the officer First Minister needed aid adviser.

:25:35.:25:40.

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

:25:40.:25:43.

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

:25:43.:25:50.

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

:25:50.:25:58.

Department specific, it relates precisely and asking why they need

:25:58.:26:03.

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

:26:03.:26:06.

question been diverted to a different department, particularly

:26:06.:26:12.

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

:26:12.:26:17.

have taken the trouble of consulting the business of us.

:26:18.:26:22.

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

:26:22.:26:29.

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

:26:29.:26:33.

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

:26:33.:26:37.

constant opposition heard. Despite what was said yesterday about

:26:37.:26:44.

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

:26:44.:26:48.

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

:26:48.:26:54.

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

:26:54.:26:59.

today, walking presumably on incomes like the programme for

:26:59.:27:02.

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

:27:02.:27:07.

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

:27:07.:27:11.

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

:27:11.:27:15.

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

:27:15.:27:22.

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

:27:22.:27:26.

MLAs from the Regional Development Committee going off to examine a

:27:26.:27:32.

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

:27:32.:27:37.

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

:27:37.:27:42.

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

:27:42.:27:45.

from the agriculture committee planning a completely different

:27:45.:27:50.

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

:27:50.:27:55.

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

:27:55.:28:05.
:28:05.:28:09.

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

:28:09.:28:11.

facing her system rather have done the newly qualified teachers.

:28:11.:28:15.

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

:28:15.:28:19.

with solutions. Interestingly, in relation to the newly qualified

:28:19.:28:27.

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

:28:27.:28:30.

Minister when he looks at newly qualified teachers, perhaps it

:28:30.:28:38.

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

:28:38.:28:47.

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

:28:47.:28:53.

and keeping newly qualified teachers from obtaining post.

:28:53.:28:56.

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

:28:56.:29:00.

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

:29:00.:29:06.

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

:29:06.:29:13.

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

:29:13.:29:17.

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

:29:17.:29:21.

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.