20/11/2012 Stormont Today


20/11/2012

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 20/11/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome Stormont today. For once, our MLAs were forced to

:00:30.:00:34.

concede centre stage. The Prime Minister was on the hill but

:00:34.:00:38.

without any more news for the executive or corporation tax.

:00:38.:00:42.

A bid to include clerical victims in the historical abuse inquiry

:00:42.:00:47.

bill is turned down in the latest stage. It is unfortunate that in

:00:47.:00:53.

the addressing of it, we create a hierarchy of abuse victims. Sinn

:00:53.:00:58.

Fein MLA, Barry McElduff gives us a preview of the stories that make up

:00:58.:01:03.

his new memoir. I wasn't the only political person to see the inside

:01:03.:01:08.

of a prison cell. One ex-prisoner visited me, namely Ian Paisley.

:01:08.:01:17.

own visitor today is political commentator Alex Kane.

:01:17.:01:23.

Events inside the Assembly chamber very often get hot and heavy. The

:01:23.:01:28.

grounds outside can seemer is reen in comparison, not so today. At

:01:28.:01:33.

rifle of the Prime Minister prompted a buzz. First David

:01:33.:01:37.

Cameron visited a factory in Craigavon and made the big

:01:37.:01:43.

announcement of his trip. chairman of the G8 I get to decide

:01:43.:01:48.

where to hold the big G8 conference next year on June 17, 18. I've

:01:48.:01:51.

decided the right place is right here in Northern Ireland and we'll

:01:51.:01:58.

be holding the G8 on the 17th and 18th of June in county Fermanagh. I

:01:58.:02:01.

think this will be... APPLAUSE

:02:01.:02:05.

A brilliant advertisement for Northern Ireland. Our visitor today

:02:05.:02:13.

is the political commentator Alex Kane.

:02:13.:02:17.

Events inside the Assembly chamber very often get hot and heavy. The

:02:17.:02:23.

grounds outside can seem serene in comparison. Not today, the arrival

:02:23.:02:26.

of the Prime Minister prompted a buzz over on that part of the

:02:26.:02:30.

estate. First, David Cameron visited a factory in Craigavon and

:02:30.:02:36.

made the big announcement of his trip. As chairman of the G8, I get

:02:36.:02:41.

to decide where to hold the big G8 conference next year on the 17th

:02:41.:02:45.

and 18th of June. I've decided the right place to hold it is right

:02:45.:02:53.

here in Northern Ireland. We'll be holding the G8 in county Fermanagh.

:02:54.:02:57.

I think this will be a brilliant advertisement for Northern Ireland.

:02:57.:03:02.

That news was cheered here in Stormont chamber by the enterprise

:03:02.:03:06.

minister Arlene Foster whose home patch in Fermanagh will host some

:03:06.:03:09.

of the world's most powerful leaders. It will not surprise you

:03:09.:03:15.

to know that I am ecstatic that the G8 summit is coming to Fermanagh in

:03:15.:03:21.

2013. I think it says a lot about Northern Ireland today that our

:03:21.:03:24.

Prime Minister can have the confidence to come to the most

:03:24.:03:29.

westerly part of Northern Ireland and have the G8 summit. What he

:03:29.:03:33.

said today was one of the most beautiful parts of the UK.

:03:33.:03:38.

Confirmation then of this week's worst kept secret about the G8

:03:38.:03:42.

coming to Fermanagh next June. I'm joined by Alex Kane. Are you

:03:42.:03:47.

excited that the prospect of the G8 coming to town? Not particularly.

:03:47.:03:51.

I'm glad it's not coming to Belfast. Usually Belfast goes into lock down

:03:51.:03:54.

with anything like this. It's a pre-Christmas Prime Ministerial

:03:54.:03:57.

visit with good news for Northern Ireland and particularly good news

:03:57.:04:01.

for the resort which I think is in administration. The resort is in

:04:01.:04:05.

administration. The last time Britain hosted a G8 sum tit was in

:04:05.:04:12.

Gleneagles, which has -- summit, it was in Gleneagles, which is a

:04:12.:04:17.

global reputation. This resort is relatively young and has had

:04:17.:04:20.

difficulties of its own. Did they choose it because it's remote

:04:20.:04:24.

because from a security point of view it ticks all the boxes?

:04:24.:04:28.

think it does tick the boxes. Oddly enough, maybe ironically the fact

:04:28.:04:30.

that it is having financial difficulties, the Prime Minister

:04:30.:04:33.

who wants to be seen to be doing something for local economy, you

:04:33.:04:37.

couldn't do anything better than say, look, here's a hotel which has

:04:37.:04:40.

difficulties, but I have enough confidence in its ability and in

:04:40.:04:46.

its staff and the people of Northern Ireland to clifr a big,

:04:46.:04:51.

world-class -- deliver, a big, world class conference.

:04:51.:04:53.

political is this on the part of the Prime Minister and the

:04:53.:04:56.

Secretary of State to say we have lots of choices here but we're

:04:56.:04:59.

plumping for Northern Ireland? These choices are political. It is

:04:59.:05:02.

the name of the game. I don't think he could take it to Scotland in

:05:02.:05:05.

view of what's happening in terms of referendum and independence.

:05:05.:05:09.

There's not much happening in Wales. Northern Ireland, it is, they're

:05:09.:05:13.

going to have Londonderry as the City of Culture next year. Also,

:05:13.:05:17.

because you've had these signs from dissident Republicans, this is a

:05:17.:05:20.

Prime Minister, clearly saying, over and over again today of the

:05:20.:05:23.

United Kingdom, this is a splendid place in the United Kingdom, making

:05:23.:05:27.

his mark, saying he's happy with Northern Ireland. He's happy with

:05:27.:05:29.

the peace process, telling the world to come here. That's

:05:30.:05:33.

important. Security concerns must have been a consideration here.

:05:33.:05:39.

This is, you know, this is not some second-rate gathering. These are

:05:39.:05:43.

the eight most significant world leaders, probably eight of the most

:05:43.:05:46.

recognisable people on the planet. To bring them here and be

:05:46.:05:49.

responsible for their security when they are here is a pretty big deal,

:05:49.:05:53.

isn't it? Location is perfect. It's surrounded by water. It's not easy

:05:53.:05:58.

to get to. High visibility all over the place. Let's not forget the

:05:58.:06:03.

PSNI are one of the best forces in the world when it comes to dealing

:06:03.:06:06.

with rioting and terrorist threats. It's their whole living, breathing

:06:06.:06:09.

operation. The Prime Minister will be pleased there was a broadly

:06:09.:06:12.

positive response to his announcement on the G8. We're not

:06:12.:06:15.

much clearer about the other thing that we thought he might say

:06:15.:06:20.

something about, that was corporation tax. Did he hedge his

:06:20.:06:24.

bets? I think the trouble with corporation tax, I'm not convinced

:06:24.:06:29.

it's coming. If you get it in Northern Ireland, what happened --

:06:29.:06:34.

happens to Scotland and Wales? What happens to the relationship, an EU

:06:35.:06:38.

relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

:06:38.:06:42.

and Great Britain? They haven't been squared off. It will go on and

:06:42.:06:47.

on. I suspect some time maybe next Easter, it will be landed very

:06:47.:06:52.

gently and just bypassed until forever probably. What are the

:06:52.:06:55.

implications locally? Our politicians here have invested a

:06:55.:06:59.

lot in the idea of it. They've said this is something we should be

:06:59.:07:03.

working hard to get, at the right price, but it would be good news

:07:03.:07:07.

for Northern Ireland, plc. If it doesn't come, what's the Plan B?

:07:07.:07:11.

don't think there is a Plan B. Plan A was nothing more than we want a

:07:11.:07:14.

cut in corporation tax, but we don't want to have to pay for that

:07:14.:07:17.

ourselves. We don't want that out of the Northern Ireland budget. We

:07:17.:07:21.

don't want to pay anything else at local level. There is no way,

:07:21.:07:26.

there's no way the Chancellor can say yes to that without having

:07:26.:07:29.

every other part of the United Kingdom asking for exactly the same

:07:29.:07:32.

thing. No special pleading for Northern Ireland? No, I think

:07:32.:07:36.

that's the thing. Northern Ireland has its own Government. Governments

:07:36.:07:39.

have to make their own decisions. They have to get away from the

:07:39.:07:43.

notion that they can constantly go to Number Ten and say we are still

:07:43.:07:46.

a special case. We are not any more. Let's get over that. Thank you.

:07:46.:07:50.

Inside the chamber, most of the time today was taken up with the

:07:50.:07:54.

debate on establishing an inquiry into the historic abuse of children

:07:54.:07:57.

in care homes and other institutions in Northern Ireland.

:07:57.:08:02.

There were 79 amendments to get through. Jim Allister wasn't

:08:02.:08:06.

pleased his amendment to include the scope to include clerical abuse

:08:06.:08:11.

wasn't accepted by the Speaker. Many victims of abuse, Mr Speaker,

:08:11.:08:15.

have lobbied courageously to get to a stage whereby this inquiry will

:08:15.:08:20.

become a reality. They are indeed to be commended for their efforts,

:08:20.:08:26.

for their determination and for their undoubted courage. Mr Speaker,

:08:26.:08:32.

we have a raft of amendments today at the consideration stage of this

:08:32.:08:40.

bill. 79 in total I understand. The vast majority of these have come

:08:40.:08:49.

from OFMDMF -- OFMDFM. Mr Speaker the issue of who this legislation

:08:49.:08:54.

should cover is an important one. I want to consider that in some

:08:54.:08:58.

detail having received representations on this from

:08:58.:09:02.

constituents. We have to bear in mind that there are children from

:09:02.:09:07.

Northern Ireland who suffered abuse in the Republic of Ireland and

:09:07.:09:10.

there are children from the Republic of Ireland who suffered

:09:10.:09:19.

abuse here. These victims, most of whom are now adults, exist in

:09:19.:09:24.

jurisdictional limbo. There has been an impression that neither

:09:24.:09:30.

side, neither jurisdiction wishs to take responsibility. Indeed, I've

:09:30.:09:37.

raised this matter separately with the Minister for Justice in the

:09:37.:09:44.

Republic of Ireland. In short, it has been left to be somebody else's

:09:44.:09:48.

problem. Today, I think, is an important opportunity to say to

:09:49.:09:52.

those people that they are recognised as victims. That they

:09:52.:09:59.

will get the time and space to tell their story and all efforts will be

:09:59.:10:03.

made to ensure that never again will people be exploited and abused

:10:03.:10:09.

in this way. A number of specific examples have been brought to my

:10:09.:10:13.

attention. For instance, a young person who suffered gross

:10:13.:10:18.

malnutrition had to be rescued by the local church of Ireland

:10:18.:10:21.

clergyman and was sent back to Dublin. Then sent to Northern

:10:21.:10:26.

Ireland to a relative of the family where he suffered further neglect.

:10:26.:10:31.

I've been told of a mother whose children were sent to the West Bank

:10:31.:10:38.

orphanage that closed in 1998 and were denied knowledge of sibling

:10:38.:10:41.

relationships. I will begin by expressing regret that amendments

:10:41.:10:47.

which I sought to table to widen the scope of this inquiry to

:10:47.:10:52.

include clerical abuse are not before the House. I think it is

:10:52.:10:58.

fortunate, right as it is that we certainly address the issue of

:10:58.:11:02.

institutional abuse, I think it is unfortunate that in the addressing

:11:02.:11:09.

of it we create a hierarchy of abuse victims. Those abused within

:11:09.:11:14.

institutions and those abused outside institutions who

:11:14.:11:19.

predominantly were the object of clerical abuse. Whereas I've heard

:11:19.:11:25.

others in this debate say that that issue cannot be forgotten about, it

:11:25.:11:30.

cannot be swept aside, the reality of this bill is it does forget

:11:30.:11:36.

about it. I've yet to hear affirmations that that will change.

:11:36.:11:45.

So I think this was an opportunity to address all abuse, including

:11:45.:11:50.

clerical abuse and I very much regret it hasn't been taken..

:11:50.:11:53.

the request of the victims and survivors who have spoken to us, I

:11:53.:11:58.

would pay tribute to those who have gone before, who are not alive to

:11:58.:12:05.

see this day and to equally salute their courage and tenacity in

:12:05.:12:10.

helping us to get to this point and not to underestimate the pain that

:12:10.:12:19.

they suffered and that they endured during this process. It is pain

:12:19.:12:27.

that is the most vulnerable. These were children, children who didn't

:12:27.:12:35.

have mums or dads or step mums or step dads. Or other care givers to

:12:35.:12:40.

go back to. These were people who were abused and hurt in the most

:12:40.:12:45.

horrible ways by the people who were entrusted to care for them.

:12:45.:12:51.

And to provide the support and love for them. That is why we have

:12:51.:12:56.

defined residential abuse because these were the children who had

:12:56.:13:03.

nobody else to go back to, whose home and into whose care they were

:13:04.:13:08.

the victims of those who shamefully should have been there to protect

:13:08.:13:17.

He is proposing we do away the terms of reference completely. We

:13:17.:13:23.

believe this would have an effect of detrimental reducing the

:13:23.:13:30.

detailed remit of the inquiry. extent to which this was a deeply

:13:30.:13:40.
:13:40.:13:41.

imperfect Bill is reflected by the House today. The SDLP's Conall

:13:41.:13:45.

McDevitt and after several hours of debate the vast majority of the 79

:13:45.:13:47.

amendments were passed. Fresh from welcoming the decision

:13:47.:13:57.
:13:57.:13:58.

to hold the G8 summit in her for man -- in her Fermanagh

:13:58.:14:00.

constituency the enterprise Minister was back to bread and

:14:00.:14:03.

butter policy issues in the chamber this afternoon. The focus of much

:14:03.:14:07.

of her Question Time was the utility regulator, just hours after

:14:07.:14:10.

it emerged that NIE had rejected this ruling on how much it can

:14:10.:14:16.

charge customers. It is not for me to become involved

:14:16.:14:20.

in the due process to be followed in determining the price controls.

:14:20.:14:25.

However, Mr Mr Deputy Speaker, it is important the price control

:14:25.:14:27.

process ultimately gets to the point where there is an appropriate

:14:27.:14:31.

balance between ensuring that the energy firms have sufficient

:14:31.:14:33.

financial cover to make the investments necessary and

:14:33.:14:40.

infrastructure and that the cost to consumers are minimised.

:14:40.:14:45.

Thank you. The Minister will know that the commission's indications

:14:45.:14:50.

are that the utility regulator has failed to act in the public

:14:50.:14:56.

interest in referring the Phoenix Gas and ultimately the actions of

:14:56.:14:59.

this utility regulator is damaging confidence in investors and

:14:59.:15:02.

consumers are ultimately going to be left to pick up the cost. Does

:15:03.:15:07.

the Minister believe that the utility regulator is damaging

:15:08.:15:10.

confidence in investors and, therefore, damaging to consumers

:15:10.:15:17.

who will ultimately be left to pick up the cost? Recent responses to my

:15:17.:15:20.

department's consultation on the new energy bill have showed firms

:15:20.:15:24.

do have some concerns about the way in which the utility regulator is

:15:24.:15:28.

operating and of course, these concerns need to be balanced

:15:28.:15:33.

against the principle duties of the regulator and indeed of the

:15:33.:15:38.

department, for electricity particularly, the duty is to

:15:38.:15:42.

protect the consumer and therefore, there is that balance. It is a

:15:42.:15:45.

difficult balance. I think that's recognised. Is it within the

:15:45.:15:52.

actually review the utility regulator's role and if so, is

:15:52.:15:57.

there any intention to do so in the near future? Well, as I have

:15:57.:16:01.

indicated, these concerns have been raised in response to the

:16:01.:16:07.

consultation on the energy bill and I do recognise that there are

:16:07.:16:12.

genuine issues that we need to address around accountability and

:16:12.:16:16.

the need to ensure that the regulatory framework for energy in

:16:16.:16:20.

Northern Ireland ensures the right investment for the future and

:16:20.:16:23.

that's why I am bringing forward proposals in the new energy Bill

:16:23.:16:28.

which will ensure provision to ensure that this happens and

:16:28.:16:32.

specifically I am bringing forward a proposal for a new strategy and

:16:32.:16:36.

policy statement which will be developed by the Department,

:16:36.:16:42.

obviously consulted upon and led before the Assembly for debate and

:16:42.:16:52.
:16:52.:16:53.

particular strategy and policy statement in the performance of his

:16:53.:16:58.

duties. But also ensure that the regulator is aligned with the

:16:58.:17:01.

executive's strategic energy goals, as well. Of course, we are not

:17:02.:17:03.

suggesting for one minute he doesn't do that at the moment but

:17:03.:17:09.

what we are doing is we are providing confidence that there

:17:09.:17:11.

will be greater Coe hereence between policy and regulation and

:17:11.:17:13.

it's something I I intend to brining before the House so we can

:17:13.:17:17.

all discuss that issue but I have to recognise those concerns have

:17:18.:17:24.

been registered with me. Question number four, Deputy

:17:24.:17:28.

Speaker. Both my officials and the Northern Ireland tourist board have

:17:28.:17:34.

had discussions with the Belfast visitor and convention pwaour Ree,

:17:34.:17:40.

and wider hospitality industry to ensure participants in the games

:17:40.:17:41.

and visitors will have a good experience. Almost 27 seminars will

:17:41.:17:45.

have been held with local businesses using the tourist

:17:45.:17:48.

information centres and industry association net w. The tourist

:17:48.:17:52.

board, convention centre and games company will continue to encourage

:17:52.:17:57.

the whorld of whole -- whole of Northern Ireland to maximise

:17:57.:18:07.
:18:07.:18:12.

The greater Belfast already has 3764 hotel rooms, if you replicate

:18:12.:18:18.

the 86% occupies and rate achieved for the period that year that will

:18:18.:18:25.

leave 527 rooms spare for an anticipated visitor numbers of

:18:25.:18:28.

15,000, would the Minister agree that's a tight fit? Yes, and I am

:18:28.:18:38.
:18:38.:18:43.

not asking them all to share. I the G8, as well. We know that there

:18:43.:18:46.

will be thousands of people that will come to Northern Ireland for

:18:46.:18:51.

that event, as well. But it is about being flexible. It's about

:18:51.:18:56.

working with accommodation providers, being innovative in

:18:56.:19:01.

terms of pop-up hotels, for example. And making sure that we stay very

:19:01.:19:06.

close to the limited company who are planning the World Police and

:19:06.:19:09.

Fire Games and that's exactly what we are doing. Arlene Foster. You

:19:09.:19:13.

may have noticed in some town centres derelict shops and

:19:13.:19:17.

buildings have had a makeover. During today's environment

:19:17.:19:20.

questions the Minister said with more funding he would like to give

:19:20.:19:25.

more towns a facelift but first, here is the Minister giving his

:19:25.:19:28.

verdict on communication between applicants and the planning service.

:19:28.:19:35.

Sure, there are as we always know, contact centres levels of delay and

:19:35.:19:40.

frustration. But I am not being told that that is the broad

:19:40.:19:46.

experience. If 22% of contacts are being dealt with by the contacts

:19:46.:19:54.

centre, if 80% of other issues are being responded to by the planning

:19:54.:20:00.

service within 24 hours, if calls are being answered within 15

:20:00.:20:06.

seconds of the call being made, all of that suggests that this new

:20:06.:20:12.

approach to citizen agent developer contact with the planning service,

:20:12.:20:19.

that it is beginning to bed in more and more and together with access

:20:19.:20:25.

to the planning where there are over 130,000 points of contact

:20:25.:20:29.

every month, in my view, that is all helping aid the planning

:20:29.:20:33.

process, certainly there will be nobody in the planning system,

:20:33.:20:37.

including myself, who will not call for even better performance than

:20:37.:20:40.

that. But I think that performance is working and working to the

:20:40.:20:49.

We do intend to roll out changes to the planning system that will see

:20:49.:20:54.

applications being made online, rather than the current system made

:20:54.:20:59.

through the paper process. So, yes, we will continue to look at

:20:59.:21:03.

opportunities to roll out and improve the service. My answer is

:21:03.:21:13.

go to Portrush and port Stewart and go to Derry-Londonderry in the -

:21:13.:21:18.

City of Culture, where I believe that the interventions to mitigate

:21:18.:21:24.

decay and derelictation have and continue to prove that this is for

:21:24.:21:29.

a moderate sum of money a worthwhile investment. I did make a

:21:29.:21:36.

bid which was denied. I did make a bid for monies in September and the

:21:36.:21:40.

recent economic package, it was denied. But I think that the

:21:40.:21:45.

argument is gathering pace around the Executive table, that for

:21:45.:21:49.

relatively small scale of monies deployed to address decay and

:21:49.:21:54.

derelictation in towns and cities across the north, has added value

:21:54.:22:00.

in this time of recession. I think the Minister for his reply, I do

:22:00.:22:05.

have to agree with him that some people now describe Portrush as a

:22:05.:22:11.

northern kergs of kin -- version of Kinsale. Has the Minister plans for

:22:11.:22:15.

rolling out his successful scheme to other towns? And indeed to

:22:16.:22:20.

encourage, if not compel property owners to take a greater interest

:22:20.:22:27.

in port that's fallen into derelictation? Or is an eyesore?

:22:27.:22:31.

Well, I have written to the chief executive of Coleraine Borough

:22:31.:22:36.

Council, acknowledging the good work that's been done, asking him

:22:36.:22:46.
:22:46.:22:48.

so that it can be more like Kinsale going forward. If I were to say

:22:48.:22:53.

today there is a more are to kwroupl on out of -- moratorium,

:22:53.:23:01.

there will be a rush to the PAC or they would say is this is against

:23:01.:23:11.

the law, it's against planning The environment Minister Alex

:23:11.:23:12.

Attwood. Now the Prime Minister's arrival at Stormont wasn't the only

:23:12.:23:18.

thing prompting a flurry around the House today. Sinn Fein's MLA Barry

:23:18.:23:26.

McElduff held a reading of his new book. It's described as a memoir of

:23:26.:23:29.

his experiences at home in Tyrone and in Stormont. Our political

:23:29.:23:34.

correspondent got a sneak preview of yes, you have guessed it, Keep

:23:35.:23:40.

It Lit. I have taken risks, I have spoken about my unionist opponents

:23:40.:23:44.

here at Stormont. One of the stories is explaining the

:23:44.:23:47.

difference between David McHrarty and David McNarry, now there is a

:23:48.:23:56.

risk and a half. I suppose my story emNates from Carrickmore, Tyrone,

:23:56.:24:06.
:24:06.:24:07.

Really that's my story, I maybe want to provoke curiosity from

:24:07.:24:11.

people beyond that community as to what makes us tick. I have

:24:11.:24:14.

something to say and I want to say it and I am saying it in the form

:24:14.:24:18.

of a book. You have spent sometime at Her Majesty's pleasure, do you

:24:18.:24:22.

touch on that in the book? I do, I spent some months in the Crumlin

:24:22.:24:27.

Road remand prison. During that time I learned a lot. I wasn't only

:24:27.:24:31.

political person who ever saw the inside of a prison cell. In fact,

:24:31.:24:37.

one ex-prisoner visited me then, namely, Ian Paisley. He was then a

:24:37.:24:42.

DUP member of the European Parliament and he came into prison

:24:42.:24:46.

to assess the conditions of the jail for the benefit of loyalist

:24:46.:24:50.

prisoners essentially. I did ask to meet him and when I discovered he

:24:50.:25:00.
:25:00.:25:23.

was in the prison it was made possible for me to meet him. But I

:25:23.:25:26.

specifically made the request to meet Ian Paisley and he abg seeded

:25:26.:25:30.

to that request and we had a productive meeting at the time.

:25:30.:25:32.

you seek permission of the Sinn Fein leadership before writing this

:25:32.:25:36.

book? I imagine they were a little bit nervous or were they? I got

:25:36.:25:46.
:25:46.:25:46.

great support. One of the people that encouraged me to write the

:25:46.:25:56.
:25:56.:26:06.

Barry McElduff there. We'll see if that strategy was a sensible one,

:26:06.:26:09.

when we see the reaction to the book over the next few weeks. Our

:26:09.:26:13.

guest Alex Kane is with me again. We'll talk about the book in a

:26:13.:26:17.

moment. But let's have a word about Jim Allister, the former Deputy

:26:17.:26:22.

Leader of the Assembly group with the Ulster Unionist Party who made

:26:22.:26:28.

a speech again yesterday about opposition and about the need for a

:26:28.:26:32.

formal opposition here at Stormont. Not surprised that he should have

:26:32.:26:36.

done that, but does the case stack up in your view? I think it does

:26:36.:26:41.

stack up. It's worth bearing in mind that since 1998 every opinion

:26:41.:26:45.

poll has shown majority, substantial majority in favour of

:26:45.:26:49.

having opposition at Stormont. All the political parties have talked

:26:49.:26:53.

about having opposition and at Leeds castle and St Andrews they

:26:53.:26:57.

talked of the need for opposition. No-one has done anything about it.

:26:57.:27:02.

Allister, give him his dew, he went into the leadership campaign and

:27:02.:27:06.

that was his big idea. It doesn't exist now. It's interesting he has

:27:06.:27:10.

come up with the idea of the private members bill. For all the

:27:10.:27:15.

talk of opposition, personally I'm supportive, there's huge

:27:15.:27:18.

difficulties. If you had structures of opposition, do you have to have

:27:18.:27:22.

a cross-community opposition? If you have a leader of the opposition

:27:22.:27:24.

does it have to be Unionist and Nationalist working together? If

:27:24.:27:29.

you have a formal, funded, properly structured opposition, do you have

:27:29.:27:31.

the situation where you have to have a cap on the percentage and

:27:31.:27:36.

number of MLAs? At the moment if you have over a certain percentage

:27:37.:27:40.

you're in the executive if you want. If you're in opposition, isn't it

:27:40.:27:45.

sensible to say, I'm sorry, you haven't enough to be in Government.

:27:45.:27:48.

The Deputy Leader of the SDLP floated this idea, saying her party

:27:48.:27:52.

should be thinking about, it even though it's not what her leader

:27:52.:27:55.

talked about in his speech. She said it's something we should

:27:55.:28:02.

discuss. Is it a scenario where we have a Shadow First Minister and

:28:02.:28:11.

then a deputy Shadow First That's thousand would have to work.

:28:11.:28:16.

If you are setting up opposition as an alternative to what's been

:28:16.:28:20.

described, as the Sinn Fein DUP carve-up, I am not sure how you

:28:20.:28:24.

have a credible alternative which consists of one party and if these

:28:24.:28:27.

two parties are saying we have a role and relevance and we could be

:28:27.:28:30.

better than the other two parties, we can show we can work together

:28:30.:28:34.

then they have to do it together. Here is the thing, surely, politics

:28:34.:28:38.

is about power, it's about getting your hands on the hrefers of powers,

:28:38.:28:42.

having control of the purse purse strings. They have that power at

:28:42.:28:46.

the moment to go opposition they would be giving it up. I am not

:28:46.:28:50.

sure they have that power. Having observed them since 2007 when the

:28:50.:28:52.

DUP-Sinn Fein became the two biggest parties, they have very

:28:52.:28:56.

little input. They have little influence. They're often ignored at

:28:56.:29:00.

key executive decisions, not told until they arrive at the meeting, a

:29:00.:29:05.

decision has been taken. A final word about Barry McElduff's book

:29:05.:29:08.

that he was talking about. Do you think that any unionist politicians

:29:08.:29:12.

will have a copy of it as a secret pleasure in their Christmas

:29:12.:29:16.

stocking? Probably if it's given to them as a present! I don't think

:29:16.:29:20.

they'll rush out and buy it. I am tkphrad to see someone -- glad to

:29:20.:29:22.

see someone writing about the background to the Assembly because

:29:22.:29:27.

it can be a fun job and it's an entertaining job and also it's

:29:27.:29:29.

instructive given Barry's background to see where he is now

:29:29.:29:34.

and writing, so openly about it. That's good. Would you be happy to

:29:34.:29:37.

have a copy? Yes, it anybody wants to send me a copy I will happily

:29:37.:29:41.

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

SRT

ASS