22/02/2016 Stormont Today


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 22/02/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Two Bs dominated this afternoon's proceedings on the hill -


While the House of Commons debated the implications


of a possible British exit from the EU,


MLAs were keen to have their say on the issue too.


And members debated the significance of last week's job losses


at the Canadian aerospace company Bombardier.


With the date of the EU referendum firmly in the diary,


local parties begin to declare their positions.


We believe that in terms of the united Kingdom and Northern Ireland,


we are safer and better out, with more money and control.


1,000 jobs are to go at Bombardier, the Enterprise Minister says


the Executive must work together to move manufacturing forward.


Confidence in the industry drives jobs. Confidence drives


apprenticeships. Confidence is key. is our Political Correspondent,


Stephen Walker. The starting pistol's been fired


for the EU referendum debate and while it's an issue that'll


affect the UK as a whole, the parties here do have their own


very particular reasons for wanting


to keep things as they are, MPs packed the Commons chamber


to take part in today's debate there, and while there was


no formal debate on the issue in the Assembly, that didn't stop


local politicians wanting to give their various


positions an airing. We waited to hear what David Cameron


would deliver out of his negotiations. Everybody agrees it is


rather thin gruel, as one of his colleagues said, it does not deliver


the fundamental reform he promised, it does not give us control of our


borders or money or our laws. So we believe that in terms of the United


Kingdom and Northern Ireland, we are safer and better out with more money


and control. We are recommending that a party that people thought


leaves when it comes to the European round the end, but we understand it


is not an election, it is a referendum, and people will have


different views so are free to hold those views. -- when it comes to the


European referendum. But our party are recommending very strongly that


people bought Julie. Are DUP representatives allowed to take


another position publicly? The position of the party and elected


the presenter Des are preventative of the party and the party's


position are that people should vote to leave. It is now very strong view


that the overwhelming majority of people, plus the business community,


and we await with interest what the farming community and food industry


have to say about this in the time ahead, I certainly think our


universities also believe in staying in the Europe. And it is ludicrous,


a ludicrous situation that I will be travelling next month with Arlene to


the United States, Theresa Villiers will also be there, as she has been


for the last number of years, and it will be very interesting to see how


Theresa Villiers speaks to the potential for investment people who


are looking at our proposition. In the course of quite a number of


engagements that Peter Robinson and I were involved in over a 56 period,


where we had access to the State Department, economic investment


conferences, from the most powerful business people in the world, all of


them expressed concern about the prospect of the British government


having a referendum which could result in an exit from Europe full.


We have put in place what we need to do to make a decision, which is to


call a meeting of the party Executive that should happen next


week. In the meantime, we want to listen to people and I am a little


surprised we are going to be the only one of the big five year at


Stormont who are prepared to listen to the business community, the


voluntary and community sector and everybody else who will be impacted


by this decision. But that is what we are going to do over the next two


days, listen and reflect. The Ulster Unionists


are keeping their options open - but one former leader nailed his


colours to the mast today. That is right. David Trimble, of


course, former UDP leader, now with the Conservatives, he has come out


to say that he wants the UK to leave the EU. He gave an interview at


Westminster and is firmly in the league camp. The Ulster Unionist


Party his former party, want a bit more time to think about this. They


are going to consult with people and a third party Executive meeting and


will finally come to a decision after they have spoken to


organisations and businesses across Northern Ireland.


We know about the DUP and Sinn Fein. SDLP are a pro-European party. We


had the leader of that party thing that Northern Ireland Place's


Northern Ireland's place should be in Europe. And we had other leaders


advocating for that. Recently, the main parties have made their


decisions. -- basically. And the Secretary of State,


Theresa Villiers, found herself in


the firing line today. She is taking a different position


from David Cameron and that is what makes this very interesting post of


a number of key personalities are taking very different positions.


That is what makes the debate interesting for voters and


journalists, because we have key personalities in the same parties


taking very different positions. Theresa Villiers has made it clear


that she would like to see the UK leave the European Union. She is a


former MEP. She is learning about other people in the cabinet, for


example Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling. But there makes this whole


debate very interesting. The Conservatives are certainly


divided on this but there are different views within the Labour


Party as well. Indeed. We have got the Ulster born MP who is taking the


approach that she would like Northern Ireland and the rest of the


UK to leave the European Union. Then you have Jeremy Corbyn, and the


leader of the Labour Party, who thinks the UK should stay in the


European Union. And then somebody like the former Home Secretary Alan


Johnson, who believes that the UK should stay in the European Union. A


lot of the parties do have this split down the middle.


And the language used by Arlene Foster yesterday


Yes, I think there is a line that is worth looking at. We heard Nigel


Dodds a few minutes ago talking about the DUP position, and the


DUP's official position is that they are a Eurosceptic party and want the


United Kingdom and to leave the European Union. But if you look


closely at this statement, and a desperate looking at it, and I will


quote, "We fully expect DUP members and voters will hold a range of


differing personal views as to what is in the best interest of the


United Kingdom. Osgood she is basically saying that this is the


DUP position but we understand if there are DUP members and falters


and take a slightly different approach. -- falters.


But would we expect leading members of the DUP speaking in an official


capacity to campaign on the party line? There are certainly are not


people coming forward and Nigel Dodds made it clear that that is the


position of the DUP, but they will be putting forward this public


position, but it is as in the best interests of Northern Ireland if the


UK leaves the European Union. It is certainly shaping up to be a


fascinating few months on that score. Stephen, thank you very much


indeed, we will talk to you later in the programme.


that Bombardier is to cut around 1,000 jobs in Belfast


the Enterprise Minister briefed the Assembly


on what the Executive can do to mitigate the impact.


Jonathan Bell said his thoughts are with the workers


and their families as they continue to absorb the news.


Well, the news was deeply disappointing to stop Bombardier has


made it clear that the decision has been taken to safeguard the


company's long-term future, globally, and here in Northern


Ireland. I want to take this opportunity also to assure this


house that I am already working with my colleague, the Minister for


implement and learning, to do all that is possible to limit the impact


of the redundancies that will take place during the coming weeks and


months. While Bombardier has said there is nothing they can do to


reverse last week's decision, we will continue to work closely with


the company and to support other ways to support its drive for


greater efficiencies. I believe it is important also to recognise the


cyclical nature of the aerospace sector. There are peaks and troughs


experienced by all major companies that operate in this sector, so


Bombardier is not unique. He, as in the department, will continue to


work closely with the company and to explore other ways to support its


drive for greater efficiencies. Perhaps the Minister would care to


explain what he means by that, those greater efficiencies, because


normally for the rest of us who have listened to this bad news emanating


from it, efficiency usually equals further cutbacks and I would not


like to think that was indeed the case. Michael Ryan and I spent a


very positive and constructive meeting this morning with many of


the trade unions. And what we are agreed on is the critical nature of


manufacturing in Belfast and how we take that forward at cost


competitiveness into the future world economy that will be key for


Northern Ireland to ensure that we have the jobs in Belfast and I am


determined to see those jobs in Belfast. Could I ask you also look


at the apprentice schemes. I am particularly concerned about the


plant that Newtownabbey and others, but could some of the other


engineering companies to cut some of the flak from Bombardier because


they are very highly prized and values apprentice schemes You can


keep up to date with the latest news and weather throughout the day via


our Twitter feed anybody that knows either Stephen and myself knows how


deeply we value apprenticeships and how we see future. What I understand


with the company if they are suspending the scheme, not ending


it, and it is a suspension of new apprentices, all of him within the


current scheme will have their fill mentorship programmes honoured and I


look forward into the future, where we can see that suspension lifted. I


am not minded to blame him for the global losses at Bombardier. But


does he not accept that taking, for example, his hearty conference


speech just three months ago when he said not to let anybody tell you


that manufacturing in Northern Ireland is in a difficult position,


that that spoke to complacency and a lack of alertness to what was coming


down the tracks. But could I ask him, is there a contingency plan for


Bombardier is the C series does not achieve its hoped-for level of


sales? I would ask him to work with me. The manufacturing industry in


Northern Ireland has asked me, who has the privileged position to be


their enterprise minister, to project confidence in the sector.


Again, with the unions this morning, I talked about the damage that will


be done if we talk to now manufacturing industry, talk about


disasters if we are stupid enough to talk about tsunamis and if we are


silly enough to talk about manufacturing having no future. It


is the industry that has asked me, because they say that confidence


drives the order book, confidence in their industry drives jobs,


confidence drives apprenticeships, confidence is key.


Jonathan Bell talking up manufacturing here.


The Justice Minister today urged the Ministry of Defence


to provide information to the legacy inquests


being conducted by the Coroners' Court.


David Ford said 'much more work is required'


in the tracing of military witnesses to these historic cases.


But before that, the Justice Minister was asked


if the closure of several local courthouses


in Northern Ireland will affect how the media reports on crime.


All laid eyes on you and leave them on and on. A system could either you


are not affected by them. The site. It advises visitors and is on you.


If, in addition to the zoo with has reduced the need for reporters to...


Given these excess of the introduction of televising some


court proceedings in the mainland, is this not something he could


encourage the Lord Chief Justice to facilitate with the Court of Appeal


in Northern Ireland so that the public were able to see exactly what


is happening in the courts rather than having a filter of journalists


having to do it from outside the buildings or print media, and this


would be a good way to open up the courts for greater access? It is an


interesting point when we talk about the Court of Appeal giving


judgments, but I am not sure, giving the length of time a judge had taken


the Court of Appeal we have the public seeing everything, we might


have the public seeing something filtered through television editors


rather than reporters selectively reporting from the street outside.


It is an issue that merits consideration but it is not my first


priority in terms of management of the course at this stage. I wrote to


the Secretary of State asking you to raise the issue of placing retired


military witnesses directly with the Secretary of State for defence.


He will stop it with, that they would like you giving the full


participation of the full participation of white range of uses


that the MoD would do everything it can to facilitate bearing age. I've


usually this response. However it is clear that much more work is


required. I also note the involvement of the MoD in the


preliminary hearing recently. Those 43 inquests with an MoD involvement


represent a significant proportion of the legacy inquests which remain


outstanding. I trust the MoD will respond fully in the course of those


hearings. Truth about what happened to our


loved ones in the past? I click, which are currently


awaiting The state of our roads


was to the fore in many MLAs' minds to the Regional


Development Minister. The Independent Unionist


John McCallister asked Michelle McIlveen


for an update on her department's budget


for road maintenance. The budget for the Depertment


for Infrastructure, as agreed by the Executive in January,


provided a capital allocation of ?46 million for road


structural maintenance, This will allow for the increased


expenditure on maintaining the condition of the existing


network and reduce the cost However, capital structural


maintenance is only one element There are a number of roads


maintenance activities that are funded through


the resource budget. These include street lighting


inspection and maintenance, pothole repairs, grass cutting,


gully emptying and weed spraying. These are important aspects


of road maintenance A resource allocation of ?20 million


was provided for roads maintenance However, a 5.7% reduction on DFIs


over all budgets presents a challenging position in terms


of delivering services To follow on on the theme


of potholes, I came cross one yesterday that a car


was completely wrecked in. However, I have been given


an undertaking that will be But the QPA state that there


is a ?15 million shortfall I don't think we need QPA to tell us


there has been a shortfall. I think we are all acutely


aware of the challenges I have had regular conversations


with QPA and they are aware since coming into office I have bid


for additional money and I have tried to do the best I can


within the very short I know this adds additional


pressure on to the industry. It adds pressure onto families


where workers have got to go across the water to find work and,


again, that impacts It is my job and the job of others


in this Assembly to make sure we do prioritise money in the right


direction and road maintenance Will she give a commitment to this


House that the money for the '16-17 budget year is prioritised


for the maintenance of rural roads? In a previous answer,


the Minister talked about doing the roads that carry the most volume


of traffic but rural roads have been Will she give a commitment


to prioritiseing that money As someone who also represents


a rural consituency, I am very aware of the needs


for rural roads and that will certainly be reiterated by many


in this chamber so while I can give a commitment that I will seek to get


as much money as possible into the roads budget,


it is very much dependent on local divisions as well as how


they allocate their money. Obviously, those areas


of highest priority. It is about making a case


for those particular areas. The Further Consideration Stage


of the Employment Bill and amid much debate over gender pay


equality and the living wage, it was talk of abolishing


zero hours contracts Sinn Fein tabled amendments calling


for the end of the employment practice, but other parties believe


it merits greater scrutiny. I want to acknowledge the role zero


hours workers play in the workplace, especially for businesses that


require that extra workforce for a length of time over


busy periods they have. I know that over the past few


months, there has been some concerns raised about abuse in connection


with the use of zero hours contracts and noncontractual zero


hour arrangements. As a result, we have a real raft


of amendments that has been brought through in the bill today


at the very late stage and I think it is far too late to bring a raft


forward on such an important in the event that shift is still


without notice, they would be entitled to compensation. Even goes


some way... It was the address the problem facing a small number of


workers who are having their rights and five at four years. I can't


stress enough that this House the numbers of people in all. Rules and


responsibilities that are being exploited and zero hours contracts


stop I don't think we can afford to be as it was the that use influence


of it. As I said at the consideration stage, these contracts


are often used by lawyers. In many cases to avoid the Lloyds properly


and to avoid giving the other is boy must rights that one can expect. And


we think about this, is a that are limiting vehicle's lives. It is


limiting their ability to be able to plan for the future.


I do think this House has a responsibility to tackle zero hours


because they are being abused out there. Mr Flanagan, at one stage,


will point out that he refers to a small number of boys but others talk


about a large number of boys -- in Floyd 's. How many people out there


are Floyd on zero hours? Lenders may well have their views on


that. The second aspect and this is probably more pertinent around


Sydney and it flies in the issue of, will the amendments achieve the


outcomes, the objectives? There is no guarantee of that because we have


not stress tested the physical wording of amendments. They may well


the means which employers can circumvent what is the town of


favour. And finally tonight


to health matters. Smoking in cars with young


people took centre stage during the consideration


stage of the Health Bill. Those exposed to second-hand vassals


for long periods of time are more likely to develop died from heart


disease, left the fifth of lung cancer. There was no safe level of


exposure to second-hand vassals. In written and oral evidence to the


committee, the VMA as well as the van, motion


and penalty. A carrot and stick approach. But it was effective. It


is my hope that criminalising smoking in cars with children would


prevent people from doing it in the first place. I am extremely


disappointed, like others, that there has not been Executive


agreement to permit a formal amendments of them from the


Department. Perhaps the Minister can give us a reason why it is on this


occasion. It was my intention to table an amendment on this issue. It


was shaved and supported by the health committee on this film. My


amendment would have interviews a clause to provide my with


regulation. The latest report published by


Public Health England in August of last year would have been that the


cigarettes believes negligible amounts of nicotine. However, the


evolution of the power to ban these address in cars...


And Stephen's joined me again for a final word.


Bombardier dominated part of the proceedings today


and the Enterprise Minster was once again in the spotlight.


Is not the first time you want I have chatted for Jonathan fell his


performance at school and, to be fair, it was a very difficult and


defensive the dispatch box, physically after the news last week,


and I think what people wanted to see from Jonathan Bell's is a was a


plan of action. No one is holding him responsible for the economic


downturn but he was facing the decision of being complacent. The


other thing you want it to you was on use houses and because they see


that... And we'll Northern Ireland be a part of the national you


campaign? We might see David Cameron, maybe you like Nigel


Farage, so I think it will see national figures over here in the


coming weeks and Northern Ireland with the national campaign.


Join me again at the same time tomorrow night -


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