21/10/2013 Stormont Today


21/10/2013

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.


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With Hello and welcome to Stormont Today. Coming up on the programme

:00:28.:00:34.

tonight: A visit to the Children's Hospital brings an injection of cash

:00:35.:00:37.

from the Finance Minister. I am shocked by what I saw. Professionals

:00:38.:00:46.

going beyond the call the duty to save children.

:00:47.:00:53.

A fracas over Fermanagh as a debate about job creation in the West heats

:00:54.:00:58.

up. The minister can tutt and roll her eyes as she always does.

:00:59.:01:05.

We'll have analysis of the day's business from our political

:01:06.:01:06.

correspondent, Martina Purdy. While the loss of the A5 road scheme

:01:07.:01:14.

was a bitter disappointment to many people west of the Bann, the money

:01:15.:01:18.

that would have been spent on it was thrown back into the finance pot and

:01:19.:01:21.

today the Finance Minister delivered the good news of what projects will

:01:22.:01:28.

now benefit. The capital reallocation exercise was completed

:01:29.:01:38.

by my officials over the summer. The executive allocated ?75.2 million to

:01:39.:01:45.

DRD. This will allow DRD to continue construction of the Belfast to Larne

:01:46.:01:53.

road scheme and complete work on the Magherafelt bypass project. An

:01:54.:02:07.

additional eight kilometres of roadway will be built improving

:02:08.:02:11.

access and road safety on that route. Funding will deliver planned

:02:12.:02:16.

road structural maint tans nans and other road iment improvements. It

:02:17.:02:22.

will ensure that DRD can complete bus procurement orders and begin

:02:23.:02:27.

replacement of the Strangford to Portaferry and Rathlin ferries. DRD

:02:28.:02:34.

will commence early design and preparatory work for the A6 road

:02:35.:02:41.

scheme. The A6 work does not commit the executive to this project. The

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executive took a view until there is clarity on the A5 project, we are

:02:47.:02:53.

not afford to commit to the A6 project since delivering is

:02:54.:03:03.

unaffordable. The executive agreed to allocate ?33 million to the

:03:04.:03:08.

Department of Health. Two weeks ago, I accepted an invitation from the

:03:09.:03:13.

Health Minister to visit the Children's Hospital. I was shocked

:03:14.:03:18.

by what I saw. Dedicated health professionals going beyond the call

:03:19.:03:22.

of duty to treat extremely ill children, but doing so in

:03:23.:03:25.

surroundings that I am ashamed to say are far from fit from purpose.

:03:26.:03:31.

Therefore, I pleased that this allocation enables the department to

:03:32.:03:39.

begin construction on a new Children's Hospital. A new

:03:40.:03:42.

state-of-the-art regional hospital to care for sick children from all

:03:43.:03:47.

over Northern Ireland. There was ?19.9 million allocated to DARD. It

:03:48.:04:04.

provides funding for further flood elevation works in East Belfast.

:04:05.:04:13.

There was ?16.1 million pounds in respect of the regional stadium

:04:14.:04:19.

construction project. 11.8 million was allocated to the Department of

:04:20.:04:28.

Learning. Redevelopment at Queen's University, asbestos removal at

:04:29.:04:42.

Stranmillis College. Members may recall I brought a motion to the

:04:43.:04:46.

assembly acknowledging the economic value of Northern Ireland's

:04:47.:04:50.

outstanding historic buildings. So I am pleased that this allocation will

:04:51.:04:58.

see assets like those enhanced. Simon Hamilton hoping to preserve

:04:59.:05:00.

our historical buildings. Our political correspondent, Martina

:05:01.:05:03.

Purdy, is with me now. The minister gave us a detailed break down of the

:05:04.:05:07.

redistributed funds. How significant is this money first of all for the

:05:08.:05:10.

Children's Hospital at the Royal? Well, it is hugely significant,

:05:11.:05:14.

Mark. This project has been talked about for decades as my colleague,

:05:15.:05:19.

the health correspondent, reported tonight. Back in 1973 when Gloria

:05:20.:05:26.

Hunniford was a young reporter, it was talked about then. By the early

:05:27.:05:33.

1990s Baroness Denton brought forward proposals for a new

:05:34.:05:36.

hospital, but the money was never forthcoming and again, when

:05:37.:05:43.

devolution was restored in 1999, the Sinn Fein Health Minister tried to

:05:44.:05:48.

get the new hospital and in 2007 another Health Minister, the Ulster

:05:49.:05:51.

Unionist, also asked for the money and was unsuccessful. So we are

:05:52.:05:56.

getting the money. It is in part due to the fact that the A5 road pro

:05:57.:06:06.

ject is being tied up in environmental issues. We now have a

:06:07.:06:12.

completion date of around 2021. There has been a bit of politicking

:06:13.:06:17.

around the distribution of the millions today? Well, there is

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always tension where there is money concern. Roy Beggs, he issued a

:06:21.:06:25.

statement expressing regret that the money for the hospital didn't come

:06:26.:06:34.

forward earlier. He said, it was interesting that the money is being

:06:35.:06:39.

made available because there is not just a DUP Finance Minister and a

:06:40.:06:42.

DUP Health Minister. That's one of the benefits of having a party in

:06:43.:06:46.

charge of both. There is no tension there, about who gets the credit,

:06:47.:06:50.

the DUP? It is an executive project, about you a DUP minister is

:06:51.:06:54.

announcing it and a DUP minister gets credit through the health

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portfolio. There is questions raised today by the Sinn Fein chair of the

:06:59.:07:04.

Health Committee. Welcoming the project, but saying in a recent

:07:05.:07:11.

beefing briefing, the impression given to the committee there was

:07:12.:07:17.

other commitments. He couldn't get money out of the

:07:18.:07:22.

cash machine at lunch time? Yes, after announcing the mlts, he found

:07:23.:07:26.

-- millions, he found that the bank machine was out of order! He used

:07:27.:07:30.

his card. Did you buy him lunch? I had to lend

:07:31.:07:36.

one member a tenner for lunch! We saw quite a few robust exchanges

:07:37.:07:42.

between two Fermanagh representatives, Arlene Foster and

:07:43.:07:50.

Sinn Fein's Phil Flanagan. Yes, Phil Flanagan brought forward a motion

:07:51.:07:55.

critical of Invest Northern Ireland's job record. The Enterprise

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Minister who hails from Fermanagh was not impressed with the points

:08:01.:08:05.

that Phil Flanagan was making. It did get rather tetchy and personal.

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These two politicians don't see eye to eye on a range of issues and

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found themselves on opposite sides of the arguments on issues such as

:08:15.:08:18.

fracking as one of my colleagues pointed out, he doesn't see them car

:08:19.:08:25.

pooling to Fermanagh any time soon! Let's see that lively debate. The

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motion as brought by Sinn Fein's Phil Flanagan. Since April 2009

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there hasn't been a single invest NI led visit by a potential foreign

:08:37.:08:40.

investor to either counties Fermanagh or Tyrone. That's not good

:08:41.:08:44.

enough. There is not enough being done to create jobs and attract

:08:45.:08:47.

investment into struggling rural areas and the minister can tutt and

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sigh and roll her eyes as she always does when somebody brings a motion

:08:55.:08:58.

in criticising her department. But that's is a fact, we have statistics

:08:59.:09:01.

to back it up. Every country in Europe has its own

:09:02.:09:06.

version of the west of the Bann problem and every country know there

:09:07.:09:11.

is not much point in regional imbalanced are best addressed in a

:09:12.:09:15.

growing economy, improved road transport, power and communications

:09:16.:09:18.

infrastructure are essential elements of a package that a

:09:19.:09:23.

prospective investor would want to see. This motion highlights an

:09:24.:09:25.

important issue, the fact that we have next to no clarity on the

:09:26.:09:29.

number of jobs created as opposed to those promoted. We cannot judge our

:09:30.:09:34.

success against the programme for Government. Some of our members are

:09:35.:09:39.

so small-minded that they want to start talking about a job created

:09:40.:09:42.

here in this county. A job created in that constituency. When you look

:09:43.:09:46.

at foreign direct investment around the world, they will think nothing

:09:47.:09:52.

of planting down a Northern Ireland and creating jobs for the whole of

:09:53.:09:55.

Northern Ireland. How do you expect to go and plead with these companies

:09:56.:09:59.

to come into your constituency whenever they read the papers and

:10:00.:10:03.

whenever they read the Hansard of this place they see you run the

:10:04.:10:10.

place down. 60% of the investment, support offered from 2011 to 2012

:10:11.:10:18.

went to eight constituencies across the north. Those eight

:10:19.:10:22.

constituencies are located in around the greater Belfast area. That is

:10:23.:10:27.

factual. It is also important to highlight that the target set for

:10:28.:10:31.

Invest Northern Ireland are again for job promotion. So the programme

:10:32.:10:35.

for Government sets out job promotion targets. It doesn't set

:10:36.:10:40.

out job creation targets. If the member wants to take that up with

:10:41.:10:42.

his colleagues in the executive, that's a matter for him. We don't

:10:43.:10:45.

force people to go to particular areas in Northern Ireland. They tell

:10:46.:10:51.

us where they want to go and we then facilitate it, but we do that

:10:52.:10:57.

because people make bids. They sell themselves. They are positive and

:10:58.:11:01.

that's one of the reasons why I have got very much involved in the smart

:11:02.:11:06.

region concept in Fermanagh and Omagh because if I'm challenging

:11:07.:11:10.

other areas and saying what are you doing? What are you doing to bring

:11:11.:11:14.

foreign direct investment to your region then I think I have to step

:11:15.:11:18.

up to the plate as well and that's what I have done. We are planning

:11:19.:11:26.

for Invest NI's conference. It is coming to Fermanagh. I note from the

:11:27.:11:32.

Fermanagh Herald he says they will not come out of their hotel. I will

:11:33.:11:37.

make sure they will come out of their hotel. That's the negative

:11:38.:11:44.

attitude I expect from Mr Flanagan. Last Friday, I engaged from with

:11:45.:11:53.

young people with Joe Burn and with a representative from the Ulster

:11:54.:11:58.

Unionist Party. This was arranged by the Peace and Reconciliation Group.

:11:59.:12:03.

A range of questions were put to the audience and one of the questions

:12:04.:12:07.

was in ten years, do you think you will be living in Fermanagh or

:12:08.:12:11.

Tyrone? The answer was 78% of the young people thought they wouldn't

:12:12.:12:15.

be living in Fermanagh and Tyrone because of the lack of job

:12:16.:12:19.

opportunities. Is this the same conference that the member told

:12:20.:12:24.

young people that the only thing I brought to Fermanagh was fracking?

:12:25.:12:33.

When did the fracking start in Fermanagh? The minister is nearly

:12:34.:12:39.

correct except from the tense. From all of the contributions from the

:12:40.:12:43.

DUP members, there was not one single member that put forward any

:12:44.:12:46.

kind of a defence as to why there was no foreign investors brought to

:12:47.:12:51.

places like Fermanagh, Tyrone or Derry and that really says it all.

:12:52.:12:55.

In her final contribution, the minister said I was wrong in saying

:12:56.:12:59.

that the Invest NI delegates would stay in the hotel and she would see

:13:00.:13:06.

to it, they will be taken out of the hotel. That's right, they will

:13:07.:13:12.

probably be taken to the Giant?s Causeway and Titanic Museum as

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always happen. The Justice Minister told the

:13:24.:13:26.

Assembly today that he remains committed to a separate prison for

:13:27.:13:29.

women, but that it's unlikely to happen in the near future. David

:13:30.:13:33.

Ford was making a statement on the second anniversary of an independent

:13:34.:13:36.

review into the Prison Service. Mr Ford told the Assembly that the

:13:37.:13:39.

reform of the prison system is making good progress. The report

:13:40.:13:41.

calls for change across the prison system in Northern Ireland. Its 40

:13:42.:13:43.

recommend dayses were challenging, but I believe then and I believe now

:13:44.:13:46.

that it set the road map to delivering an effective, efficient

:13:47.:13:48.

and sustainable service. I said at the time of publication that

:13:49.:13:50.

implementing the recommendations would be a long-term process and

:13:51.:13:53.

that we would have to put in places foundations if reform was to be

:13:54.:13:56.

embedded throughout our prisons. The service established a reform

:13:57.:13:59.

programme to put in place the foundations tor delivery and to

:14:00.:14:02.

drive the necessary changes. The reform programme is at the half-way

:14:03.:14:08.

point. Good progress is being made. Nine recommendations have been

:14:09.:14:11.

approved by the prison review oversight group. This group provides

:14:12.:14:15.

oversight and scrutiny of the programme and includes a robust and

:14:16.:14:18.

challenging independent element. I anticipate that a further nine

:14:19.:14:22.

recommendations will be brought forward to be signed off by the

:14:23.:14:25.

group at its December meeting. If those are signed off, almost half of

:14:26.:14:29.

the recommendations will have been implemented. That demonstrates

:14:30.:14:36.

steady progress. There is a Prison Service initiative at mag gab bury.

:14:37.:14:43.

I also wanted to see support put in place for those with addiction

:14:44.:14:46.

issues. Prison staff are being selected to work on the addiction

:14:47.:14:51.

programme which will be piloted in the New Year. This will be a

:14:52.:14:54.

complete programme regime which will support prisoners to break the cycle

:14:55.:14:58.

of addiction. It is the first of its type in the British Isles and

:14:59.:15:02.

demonstrates the approach that prison staff are willing to take to

:15:03.:15:07.

deliver change. Today, I want to focus on the needs of females. I

:15:08.:15:11.

wish to put on record that I remain committed to having a separate

:15:12.:15:13.

prison for women. However that will not happen in the near future. To

:15:14.:15:18.

address this, a four stage approach will take place with I will deliver

:15:19.:15:22.

positive change for female prisoners. Reforming the prison

:15:23.:15:24.

system in Northern Ireland is the biggest change programme in the

:15:25.:15:29.

public sector since the formation of the PSNI in 2005. The

:15:30.:15:34.

recommendations from the report were not straightforward. As I said

:15:35.:15:38.

previously, the vision of the report was to deliver end to end

:15:39.:15:42.

transformational change. That means changing the structures, ethos and

:15:43.:15:46.

culture of the people who work for prisons and how they work with those

:15:47.:15:49.

who are in custody. All of which has to be delivered within today's

:15:50.:15:54.

financial restrictions. The Prison Service is an organisation in

:15:55.:15:57.

transition and many people are working to make changes a reality.

:15:58.:16:02.

I'm encouraged by the work that's being done and the pro he gres that

:16:03.:16:12.

has been made. David Ford, the Justice Minister on

:16:13.:16:16.

the state of prison reform in Northern Ireland. Joining me now is

:16:17.:16:18.

Professor Phil Scraton, who wrote two human rights reports on women in

:16:19.:16:22.

prison in Northern Ireland. David Ford says he is committed to a

:16:23.:16:26.

separate prison for women but are we really any closer to that happening?

:16:27.:16:29.

I am concerned about that, Mark. I mean, we made those recommendations

:16:30.:16:31.

way back in 2005le. We were against the move to Hydebank Wood. The move

:16:32.:16:40.

did happen and it has been a disastrous move for women. Their

:16:41.:16:43.

rights are breached on a daily basis. We know the story of women

:16:44.:16:50.

being transported with men. They can't move around the campus of

:16:51.:17:03.

Hydebank Wood. They don't enjoy the freedoms of a medium security jail.

:17:04.:17:09.

All of those issues remain unresolved issues around strip

:17:10.:17:11.

searching and the Prison Service will say they are not strip

:17:12.:17:20.

searched, they have a top half. All those issues we raise eight years

:17:21.:17:24.

ago are still profoundly there and they were there in in Ann Owers

:17:25.:17:36.

report. On four of the key criteria of judging the prison, it was poor

:17:37.:17:40.

on four and only satisfactory on one. That is unacceptable and if

:17:41.:17:46.

that's what is going to continue until 2015, even with the minor

:17:47.:17:49.

adjustments that will be made in that time, it means that we are

:17:50.:17:53.

presiding over not only the inequality of women in our jails,

:17:54.:18:00.

but a serious abuse of their rights which would not happen in any other

:18:01.:18:03.

European state. What are the implications for

:18:04.:18:07.

individual women prisoners if this change doesn't happen as quickly as

:18:08.:18:11.

you would like it to happen? Well, the implications are clear. Except

:18:12.:18:15.

for a small number of long-term prisoners who actually have to

:18:16.:18:19.

endure their imprisonment alongside others who are coming and going and

:18:20.:18:22.

that's unacceptable. But apart from that, we are going to see women and

:18:23.:18:27.

they go in for short periods of time, going in and out of that

:18:28.:18:32.

prison over the next three to four years who are going to endure the

:18:33.:18:39.

processes we have identified that are unacceptable. It is not only

:18:40.:18:45.

those of us who are independent researchers. Ann Owers team pick up

:18:46.:18:53.

and it is not acceptable. David Ford was at pains to point out

:18:54.:18:57.

the reform of the prison system here is a huge task, but steady progress

:18:58.:19:01.

is being made. Do you accept that? The devil is in the detail, Mark.

:19:02.:19:06.

What David Ford did not do today is demonstrate which of the nine have

:19:07.:19:11.

been resolved. Which of the forthcoming nine will be resold and

:19:12.:19:14.

we are only half-way after two years. We are only half-way to

:19:15.:19:22.

meeting the demands of Ann Owers report. That's slow progress. I have

:19:23.:19:27.

been inside the prisons many times and I understand the problems of a

:19:28.:19:31.

root and branch change, but it is not quick enough and while that's

:19:32.:19:35.

happening prisoners and their families endure that process that

:19:36.:19:42.

breaches their rights. Thank you very much indeed.

:19:43.:19:48.

Earlier, we saw lively exchanges in the chamber and the temperature rose

:19:49.:19:55.

during questions to the Culture Minister.

:19:56.:20:02.

Can I ask the minister if she would confirm that the City of Culture

:20:03.:20:06.

legacy plan will be will be brought forward this year and can she assure

:20:07.:20:15.

that Derry football club will be included? With the ?3 million that

:20:16.:20:22.

the Derry City council has will put a dent into the Foyle Valley plan.

:20:23.:20:32.

It is really important that we use opportunities through sport and

:20:33.:20:35.

physical activities through, the arts and the community development,

:20:36.:20:38.

through health, social development and the rest to make sure that we

:20:39.:20:46.

leave a good footprint and I believe the Foy Valley project is one of

:20:47.:20:51.

those. Has the minister been able to ascertain how many boxing clubs we

:20:52.:20:56.

have and how many need modernisation programmes? Well, there is well over

:20:57.:21:02.

60 boxing clubs across the north you know, it would be fair to say that

:21:03.:21:06.

many of them, if not all, well certainly, I would say the majority

:21:07.:21:12.

of them would need some support around capital and support. I think

:21:13.:21:18.

you could count on one hand the number of clubs that don't need any

:21:19.:21:23.

support at all out of the 60. It is not the wax lyrical here, but we

:21:24.:21:28.

continually praise the work and the product of boxers in this assembly

:21:29.:21:33.

and this chamber. We continue to acknowledge the commitment and work

:21:34.:21:38.

and the role models to play for children and young people within our

:21:39.:21:41.

communities. We have to get behind the sport and make sure not only do

:21:42.:21:46.

they have the facilities, but they will attract other youngsters to the

:21:47.:21:53.

sport because any parent walking in, despite the success, they walk in

:21:54.:21:57.

and see the facilities, I couldn't blame some of them for being tempted

:21:58.:22:01.

to walk-out again despite all they do. They need to get behind the

:22:02.:22:05.

support and put the investment where it is needed and boxing is one of

:22:06.:22:09.

the sports that needs it. As the minister is a minister of the Crown

:22:10.:22:16.

on a 24 /7 basis and subject to the constraints and obligations of the

:22:17.:22:20.

Ministerial Code at all times, why then this summer did she see fit to

:22:21.:22:28.

align herself with partisan protests against expressions of British

:22:29.:22:33.

culture in Northern Ireland? And be present on several occasions...

:22:34.:22:39.

THE SPEAKER: Order, please. As I have said that the member is

:22:40.:22:45.

consistently silly. He provides nothing, but divisive politics to

:22:46.:22:50.

this House. He has done nothing in terms of community relations,

:22:51.:22:54.

building good or better relations. I think he has a brass neck to

:22:55.:22:59.

question my adherence to the Ministerial Code which belongs to

:23:00.:23:05.

this place. The member, despite his expertise, alleged of knowing

:23:06.:23:09.

standing orders inside out, needs to ask the right question which is

:23:10.:23:12.

right and pertinent to the question he asked in the first place. If he

:23:13.:23:15.

has any difficulty with doing that, I am happy to sit down with him and

:23:16.:23:21.

show him how it is done! The Culture Minister offering

:23:22.:23:35.

tuition to Jim Allister. Row the PSNI are recruiting was

:23:36.:23:40.

under discussion. The opening up of the recruitment

:23:41.:23:45.

process of the PSNI and it allows for a further tran formation and

:23:46.:23:52.

civilisation of the police force which is not fully representative of

:23:53.:23:56.

the society we live in. As the member will know from his

:23:57.:24:00.

role on the policing board, there are numbers around the budget. The

:24:01.:24:07.

Police Service are in a process to start a new campaign. The important

:24:08.:24:13.

issue for this campaign given that the 50/50 targets are removed is to

:24:14.:24:19.

get the affirmative action programme to ensure they get the widest

:24:20.:24:23.

possible range of applicants and to continue the work they have been

:24:24.:24:27.

doing to ensure they become a representative service. Can he be

:24:28.:24:31.

equally clear in temples of what the people of Northern Ireland are

:24:32.:24:35.

missing in terms of the NCA operating operating here and the

:24:36.:24:38.

impact that it would have on the people of Northern Ireland if we

:24:39.:24:44.

don't have the full implementation of the National Crime Agency here?

:24:45.:24:48.

What we will not have if we don't have full operational powers, the

:24:49.:24:53.

NCA will not be able to deliver the same assistance to the PSNI until

:24:54.:24:59.

the 7th October we had from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.

:25:00.:25:06.

It will hamper a variety of crimes, drug smuggling, fuel laundering. It

:25:07.:25:10.

the not mean that those activities cannot be carried out against such

:25:11.:25:17.

criminals, but it will mean the PSNI has to devote resources

:25:18.:25:23.

There is now an opportunity for him as a minister of justice to bring

:25:24.:25:27.

forward legislation which would tackle serious crime and indeed,

:25:28.:25:33.

make it effective, but make it atable? -- accountable?

:25:34.:25:37.

Well, I am not sure what legislation I could bring to on any meaningful

:25:38.:25:42.

time scale which would enable us to fix the gap because even if we were

:25:43.:25:47.

to seek to bring forward a new Bill in this place and even if there were

:25:48.:25:51.

complete mrit theical agreement, there would be a significant gap to

:25:52.:25:55.

allow the consultation, the drafting, the processes in this

:25:56.:25:59.

House and I do not believe we can wait for those processes to be gone

:26:00.:26:02.

through. I believe we have now got to the situation that the

:26:03.:26:06.

accountability mechanisms are in place to allow the NCA to operate

:26:07.:26:11.

within Northern Ireland subject to our normal policing architecture

:26:12.:26:20.

here. Subject to the prime assy of the NI, reporting to the policing

:26:21.:26:26.

board, all of those are issues which we have got.

:26:27.:26:30.

Can I ask the minister that access to justice won't be compromised by

:26:31.:26:36.

any reform of Legal Aid? I can assure him as I have assured the

:26:37.:26:39.

House and the committee before, that it is my ambition to not take issues

:26:40.:26:44.

out of scope for Legal Aid unless an alternative better method can be

:26:45.:26:48.

provided, but there is no doubt that the financial challenges we face are

:26:49.:26:53.

placing pressure to the point that current ex-pented ture on Legal Aid

:26:54.:26:58.

-- expenditure on Legal Aid is meaning I have to make cuts in other

:26:59.:27:02.

departments and that's an issue that needs to be addressed. The issue we

:27:03.:27:09.

maintain as far as possible the access to the legal advice that

:27:10.:27:14.

people need. The Justice Minister explaining how

:27:15.:27:23.

money is tight in his department. Martina Purdy is with me again. So

:27:24.:27:31.

Arlene Foster had a sharp exchange with Sinn Fein's Phil Flanagan over

:27:32.:27:34.

job creation, but the mood is perhaps much lighter between the

:27:35.:27:37.

First and Deputy First Ministers this evening.

:27:38.:27:38.

Well, Mark whatever tensions they may have over the Maze, they don't

:27:39.:27:45.

tend to fight in public and they are visiting Boston and Chicago. They

:27:46.:27:54.

are visiting companies and I was hearing today in the he corridors,

:27:55.:28:01.

there maybe good news shortly. Watch this space! That will be

:28:02.:28:03.

interesting. Behind the scenes, you have been looking into Stormont's

:28:04.:28:08.

approach to flying the Union flag? Well, Stormont has been looking at

:28:09.:28:12.

it for around a year when the controversy arose over the flying of

:28:13.:28:16.

the Union flag over Belfast City Hall and the decision to limit the

:28:17.:28:21.

flying of the Union flag to designated days. The cross party

:28:22.:28:25.

commission which is responsible for Parliament buildings has a paper

:28:26.:28:31.

which it has to consider. Here is a number of options. They were

:28:32.:28:33.

supposed to meet this week. The meeting will happen in November.

:28:34.:28:44.

OK. We will hear more about that. That's it for now. Join me tomorrow

:28:45.:28:48.

night at 11.20pm here on BBC Two. For now, bye-bye.

:28:49.:28:53.

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.


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