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You're watching BBC Newsline, and these are the headlines
Uncertainty whether Brexit could mean the return of customs
checks at the border, after the Prime Minister lays
As a Stormont election looms, the Secretary of State calls
Details are revealed about the locations
Still no permanent GP for this practice.
What needs to be done to persuade someone to take up the post?
That they know they have support to help them through the challenges of
running a business as well as the clinical aspects of general
practice. A mild and cloudy night, some very
settled weather to come, dry and cloudy but getting cooler during the
week. It's unclear if it will mean
the return of customs The Prime Minister laid
out how she sees the UK leaving the European Union,
and said that meant exiting That's the arrangement
which allows for tariff-free But Theresa May also said
she will try to negotiate Our first report is from our
economics and business Thousands of vehicles
cross our border every day That's because the UK
and Ireland are members But could we soon be moving
to an arrangement like this? Here on the border between Sweden
and Norway, lorry drivers must cross They have to hand in their
paperwork, and can also There are tariffs to be paid on some
goods, effectively a tax on trade. That's because Sweden
is in the customs union, Think of the customs
union like a club set up All the members of the club have
agreed they won't charge customs duties or tariffs
on each other's goods. The members also agree
to take a joint approach Imports from outside the EU must
attract the same tariffs no matter In the jargon, that's known
as a common external tariff. But that
joint approach means the members deals, the type of deals
that the Prime Minister I do not want Britain to be part of
a common commercial policy or be bound by the common external tariff.
These are the elements of the customs Union that prevent us from
striking our own, hence its trade agreements with other countries.
But I do want us to have a customs agreement with the EU. Whether that
means we must reach a completely new customs agreement, become an
associate member of the customs Union or remain a signatory to some
elements of it, I hold no preconceived position.
So the Prime Minister hopes that, whatever deal is done with EU,
we will retain the good parts of the customs union, and also make
But in the meantime, there is uncertainty
for businesses, particularly those in border areas.
We have a very complex supply chain here. We produce food and drink on
both sides of the border, what does that mean if we are potentially
looking at customs, tariffs, increasing the cost of doing
business? We are sitting on the periphery of Europe already in
Belfast. Sinn Fein was not
impressed by the speech. They say it means a hard
border is coming. Theresa May is intent on leaving the
single market and customs Union, hard Brexit equals hard border.
We hope a way can be found for dealing with this problem with the
border. Theresa May again promised
there will be no return It's just not clear how much impact
that change will have. The Secretary of State James
Brokenshire has called on the parties to campaign
respectfully during the Assembly election, and do nothing
that would exacerbate His comments came as MPs debated
the political crisis at Stormont and the forthcoming Assembly poll
to be held on March second. The SDLP and Sinn Fein say
post-election the British and Irish Governments should convene
an all-party summit, but that has Our political correspondent
Stephen Walker is in Westminster. James Brokenshire I came to the
House Of Commons for the second time in the week to give a statement on
Northern Ireland and as he looked forward to the Assembly election
campaign, he hoped those on the election trail would behave in a
positive manner. This election is about the future of
Northern Ireland and its political institutions. Not just the Assembly
but all of the arrangements that have been put in place to reflect
relationships through these islands. That is why it would be vital for
the campaign to be conducted respectfully and in ways that do not
simply exacerbate tensions and division.
Those worries are clearly shared by other parties.
We all have great concerns, we have got to get it back to proper,
reasonable argument and lead the people, not frighten them.
Once the election is over, James Brokenshire says devolution needs to
be restored but he was warned today in the meantime talking as to
continue. Let us not waste this six week
period to make sure if we can get people talking. To get where we want
to be, we need discussion. Otherwise it is a recipe for disaster.
The SDLP the aftermath of the election both governments need to
convene a joint summit. They need to bring all the parties
around the table to have discussions about how the institutions can be up
and running again, that means the Assembly, executive, and a British
Irish Council. The DUP has made it clear post
election they see a limited role for the Irish Government.
Other than the Irish and encouraging people to do what their electors
want them to do on the sidelines, that is all they can do, otherwise
it would be interference. Don't be interfering in my country.
Sinn Fein insists Dublin does have a key role in the weeks ahead.
It has to be all inclusive negotiations ensuring all the issues
are on the table and all the people are around.
Including the Irish and British? They has to be part of it.
Politically, the next six weeks are mapped out and in March it is clear
there is much talking to be done. And we'll be speaking
to the Secretary of State A former Defence Minister has used
parliamentary privilege to allege that Barra McGrory is what he called
a "Sinn Fein supporting' Director The Conservative MP for Aldershot,
Sir Gerald Howarth, May I make a really firm plea to him
that he should protect the interests of former British soldiers currently
being charged by the Sinn Fein supporting Director of Public
Prosecutions in Northern Ireland for murders which took place over 40
years ago? In response, a spokesman
for the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland said
it was wholly independent of all political parties
and the political system. "We would never seek
to influence political debate Equally, we must take
all appropriate steps to ensure that our decision-making processes
are protected from political This is necessary both to safeguard
the integrity of prosecutorial decision-making within the wider
criminal justice system, and to ensure that PPS staff
are able to carry out difficult but important functions strictly
in accordance with applicable law The Public Prosecution Service only
applies the law as it currently stands in Northern Ireland,
and does so without fear, MLAs were back at Stormont today,
as the parties are now preparing for the election
on March the 2nd. They debated the flawed
renewable heating scheme But the vast majority
of Sinn Fein MLAs stayed away. Our political correspondent
Enda McClafferty reports. After a day of frantic activity,
the pace dropped down The institutions are rolling
slowly towards collapse, and politics here will soon be
at a standstill. Even the ministerial dress code
in the chamber was different. But at least Sinn Fein's
Ministers showed up. the rest of their
colleagues stayed away. I think it is bordering on farcical
that Sinn Fein haven't bothered to show up today. They are being paid
to be here and be part of an executive and Assembly.
But they want to play politics. As we have seen yesterday, the
assembling was heading towards an election and the public will have a
say on what is happening. In the Assembly today we had pointless
motions from the opposition, they were talking to themselves. The
people waiting for the election. Pointless or not, the Assembly did
back a call for an inquiry And they also debated the failure
of the Executive to function. This is the way the Assembly ends,
not with a bang but with a diminuendo of interest.
I thank the member for his comments and if that is an invitation to be
joining your party I will be standing as an independent in the
next election. And if re-elected,
the Justice Minister may well play If anything I take part in politics
out of any concessions we have and in my role as Justice Minister I
have a clear role and a stronger ship with all executive parties
until this scandal. Assembly business will grind
to a halt next week, with no timetable as to
when the institutions might return. The PSNI says it is considering a
request for the Chief Constable to investigate allegations of fraud in
the renewable heat scheme. There are at least 14 suspected cases. Also
today the BBC has been passed a detailed breakdown of where the
boilers are located and it shows two main clusters in Ulster and Northern
Antrim. BBC presenter Stephen Nolan
got his hands on the regional We can reveal the full geographical
spread of applications to you today, It showed two main clusters
of boiler installations around They are areas that are close
to the main processing plant. Poultry farmers are heavily
represented with 871 They use the heat in chicken houses
where birds are reared. Last night, the former DUP minister
talked about the scheme. He named two special advisers
with links to the poultry But it was vigorously
denied by them. Any families they had were not
beneficiaries of the scheme. I will not go into the speculation
of which special advisers did But, make no mistake,
what I said in the House yesterday, I will tell a judge under
oath the exact same information. The DUP said the suggestion that any
special adviser had eight RHI 14 suspected cases are known but no
criminal investigation yet to root it out. Here is how the economy
minister fielded that question at committee.
For clarity, that is fraud? That is from people gaming the
system. Fraud, exploiting the process.
Not good enough for the opposition who have written to the Chief
Constable asking him to get involved.
When you have a Minister of Northern Ireland saying there is potential
fraud or likely to be fraud and it hasn't been contradicted, I would
think that would be enough evidence for the PSNI to be involved.
The PSNI said the letter had been received and its contents were being
considered. The Health Minister says the Health
and Social Care Board is still trying to get a permanent
GP to take over Bannview Medical And, in a new development,
the possibility that the Southern Trust will take over the contract
and employ GPs directly Our health correspondent
Marie-Louise Connolly reports. According to locals the difficulties
at Bannview were well signposted which meant the current instability
could have been avoided. Patients feel we have been ignored.
The board seem to have got on the ball when faced with a protest.
What has led to this which is being felt in other surgeries? Currently
there are 343 GP practices in Northern Ireland. With 1370
registered GPs. Of those, 411 are Lowchens, that means they have
temporary posts. Part of the problem is an increasing number of doctors
choose to remain as Lowchens as they do not want the pressure that comes
with either managing or owning a general practice, and that is only
adding to the issue. What the Lowchens would like is to
know there is some control over workload, guaranteed holidays, that
they have financial investment in the practice to guarantee their
income, and that they know they have mentoring and support to help them
through the challenges of running a business as well as the clinical
aspects of general practice. The health minister told the
Assembly a solution to Bannview could be the Southern health trust
takes on the contract and employs GPs themselves, that is an unusual
move but one that the health board says could be a solution so many
struggling practices. It would help to stabilise care and
provide that within practices, it would be helpful for the doctors in
that they are working consistently with a group of patients and they
can follow those patients over time and see their development. That
would be a very positive development.
Amidst this is politics. GPs say their allocation of money does not
reflect the amount of work they do. The distal budget the help is ?5
billion. This works out at ?127 per patient or 6% of the total budget.
In the rest of the UK, it is ?141 or 8% of total budget. The BMA wants
10% of the total budget to go to GP health services.
Next week, GPs are being asked to vote on whether their practices
should leave the NHS. If that boat is a resounding yes, that could mean
patients being asked to pay to see their GP. A move that goes against
the very ethos of the National Health Service.
Back to Brexit and the Assembly election.
The Irish Government has welcomed what it called "the clarity"
Theresa May had brought to the UK's position on certain issues relating
Our Dublin correspondent Shane Harrison joins us now.
Shane, what more had Enda Kenny to say on Brexit?
The Taoiseach said it is deeply regrettable the Assembly elections
are taking place at a time when Northern Ireland faces the gravest
of issues, Brexit. The Irish movement has its own bracelet
concerns, the type of border, the retention of the Common travel area,
the future of the peace process, the 1 billion euros plus trade between
both islands. Ideally Ireland would like to see the UK state in the
single market. Theresa May said that would not happen. Dublin would like
to see the UK state in the customs Union. She was more ambiguous about
that but relatively negative. The Taoiseach welcomed the relative
certainty on clarity in her comments on wanting to retain the Common
travel area and avoiding the hard borders of the past. That said, the
Leader of the Opposition party was not impressed.
It is one thing to welcome clarity. I don't think we should be welcoming
a negative clarity because that is what the essence is of today's
speech by the Prime Minister. We needed more than clarity but real
signs of sensible and logical engagement with Europe but not a
case of we want our cake and eat it as well.
On the Assembly election, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny has called
for a civil election campaign, words echoed by the
Enda Kenny is looking beyond the elections towards the inevitable
negotiations that are going to follow and he does not want the
atmosphere between the parties to be overly poisoned.
He is worried about the future of the Good Friday agreement
institutions at a time when the Brexit negotiations are probably
just weeks away. The Taoiseach and I have spoken
about this on many occasions and confirmed our commitment to work
with the Government of the Republic to ensure the results we have in
terms of the customs arrangements is as frictionless as possible. I also
said in my speech and we want to continue with the Common travel area
which existed long before either of us were members of the EU.
Theresa May speaking to our TE earlier. We hope to speak to the
Secretary of State James Brokenshire are before the end of the programme.
That is good to Stormont. Our political editor Mark Devenport
joins us now from Stormont. Could this conflict matters the
triggering of Article 50 soon after the elections?
The DUP and Sinn Fein have been pulling in different elections and
were on different sides over Brexit. They have been managing their
differences because they had to, they were both together in the
executive and able at least to stand together at Downing Street. And able
to unite on a two page letter setting out common goals in
maintaining the free movement of people and goods within the island
of Ireland. Now they are no longer lashed
together in the executive, Brexit could feature in any negotiations
after the election and the fact it will be high on the UK agenda
because it will coincide with the triggering of Article 50 I think
could make it a difficulty in those negotiations.
The US Government has made its views known this evening.
It says it remains committed to a peaceful and prosperous Northern
Ireland and it has urged local politicians at Stormont to work
together to try to restore devolved Government is as quickly as
possible. These are changing sides -- Changing
times on both sides of the Atlantic, one of the last statements from the
Barack Obama administration given Donald Trump is coming.
That is not to save the attitude of the new rich region will change
radically. -- the new Administration.
There was no Sinn Fein presence at Stormont today, effectively the
election campaign has started. A couple of ministers turned up to
answer questions about the infrastructure, and for an urgent
question in relation to GP services around Portadown.
But no Sinn Fein backbenchers took part in debates. Obviously a sign
that they believe the election is now effectively already underway.
The question will be whether the fact Sinn Fein politicians have been
clearing their desks in their offices here turns to be a signal of
a longer absence, or whether they will be tempted back. It is a
three-week timetable set aside for talks after the election. Otherwise,
the Secretary of State will have two move at that point to calling a
fresh election or potentially bringing back suspension powers.
There still seems to be that talk there will not be the agreement
after the election to form a functioning executive. So direct
rule looks pretty likely among many of the pundits.
James Brokenshire is refusing to be drawn at this stage on whether he
would contemplate direct rule. I think that is simply him not wanting
to comment beyond this point. Three weeks does not seem to be a on which
the parties could look at big issues like a new language act,
alternatively what the DUP has been talking about, the potential need of
a structural change, changes to things like the coalition system we
have at the moment. All of that will be a big ask to achieve in three
weeks which is why most commentators think it is plausible we could be
looking instead at some kind of return to suspension powers even
though that would require some sort of emergency law to be pushed
through Westminster. Thank you for your analysis.
A woman golfing professional is hoping to share more of the
limelight, Stephanie Meadow competed at the Olympics last year and is
about to start another season on the tour in the United States.
Stephanie Meadow's short career has had ups and downs. 11 months after
finishing third at the 2014 US open, tragedy struck as her father Robert
passed away after a short battle with cancer.
2015 was really a pretty bad year personally. And professionally. To
be on the end of that is nice. It took a lot of hard work, I've worked
harder than I ever have. I haven't seen results for a long time. It was
tough to keep battling through. But I did it. Hopefully I can keep
improving and be up there. Testament to her hard work, last
year she represented Ireland at the Olympic Games in Rio.
Everything from the Olympic Village to the golf course to sing other
events, I saw Michael Phelps swim. It was really good fun. Paul
McGinley did an amazing job of being team captain. The first Olympics, I
never thought I could do that, it was special.
Ranked 259 in the world, Stephanie has her sights set on high for the
year ahead. I want to be in the top 60, played
25 events, I can make some money and get out there. Long term it is
improving every year. My main goal is to be number one in the world
like Rory McIlroy. That always has been my dream. Raw
talent, confidence and the desire to win. 2017 could be her year.
We have tried to link up with the Secretary of State before the end of
the programme but quiet on the weather desks down to
an area of high pressure. We will see lots of still water and scenes
like this. Miles, cloudy conditions, not a lot of breeze. It will get
colder through this week. It is down to this big area of high
pressure sitting out there over Central Europe, protecting us from
all of these systems as they tried to come in through the next few
days. Overnight, because we have had
ploughed through the day, we hold on to that, very mild, seven is the
average daytime temperature in January.
For a night-time temperature, that is very mild. Tomorrow, another
cloudy day. Tomorrow won't be as mild, 10 Celsius through the day.
A few breaks in the ploughed through the afternoon helping things feel a
little bit brighter for a time. Certainly not too bad. Overnight,
Wednesday, again, a very mild night, temperatures staying well above
freezing. Thursday is the brightest of the
next few days, more sunny spells but we have cooler temperatures to go
with that. Not a bad day. Into Friday, a bit
more brightness but feeling a little bit cooler. Look at those numbers,
not too bad at all. The View holds politicians to
account and we ask