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Page last updated at 12:30 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 13:30 UK

Northern Ireland: Have your say

Sunday 31 May 2009

On the Politics Show from Northern Ireland on 31 May 2009 Jim Fitzpatrick chaired an interactive debate with the seven European election candidates at Queens University in Belfast. An invited audience expressed their opinions on a variety of issues using handheld keypads. These points were then put to the panel.

Here are some of your comments...

Will the DUP publish the full details of all the expenses claimed by their double jobbing MPs and MLAs who are getting expenses from both jobs? Will they also publish details of all the expenses claimed by all their Councillors for the last four years?
Anon, County Londonderry

I feel utterly amazed that Dodds has managed to bumble her way to even this point in the election campaign. She has shown herself to be nothing but a shambles. Obviously she doesn't have any understanding of the workings of Europe, nor has she bothered to find out... surely there's a 'Europe for Dummies' out there!

But more than that, she is arrogant enough to think that if she has a couple of 'tricks' up her sleeve she'll be able to fool the Northern Irish voters, how wrong and naive she is. Not only are we not stupid, but as it turns out her joker cards were completely wrong.

Time for her puppet masters to come up with another idea, they seemed to only think about getting the DUP to top the polls, without considering the aptitude of candidate, and they forgot they had to let her speak in front of the voters and then to boot they sent her in ill-informed. Dark days ahead for Northern Ireland if Dodds is speaking for us in Europe.
Anon, Northern Ireland

I am Catholic and I am watching the Politics Show at the minute! I'm not being biased, as I feel various fair points have been raised by the TUV and UUP but the DUP rep, Diane Dodds?!?!?!

She is the rudest, most ignorant woman I have ever seen! She doesn't let anyone speak but God forbid someone should interrupt her! She just sits and laughs at other parties comments! I am really disgusted and angered listening to her!
Gemma de Meulemeester, Ireland

Ref. Politics Show. Was the audience picked by postcode?
John, Belfast

What about the audit and sanction systems that were in place to monitor expenses claims? How was this allowed to go on for so long?
Johnny, Limavady

We are trying to move forward. Jim Allister is trying to take us back to 1974.
Margaret, Bangor

Ask the audience should unionists have joined with the Tories?

Sunday 24 May 2009

On the Politics Show from Northern Ireland on 24 May 2009 Jim Fitzpatrick chaired a studio debate with five candidates for the European parliament elections; Jim Nicholson of the Conservative and Unionists, Alban Maginness of the SDLP, Diane Dodds of the DUP, Bairbre de Brun of Sinn Féin and Jim Allister of the TUV.

Here are some of your comments...

Some parties haven't yet gathered that this is an election for Europe. In all Diane Dodds speeches so far I have not heard it mentioned once, all she talks about is the same old rhetoric about keeping Sinn Fein down. THIS IS COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT IN EUROPE! I completely disagree with just about everything Jim Allister stands on, but at least he talks about European issues, has good opinions regarding these and can argue well.

The DUP seem to be spouting this same tired argument because they either don't have any valid opinions towards Europe, or else because they believe their voters are too stupid to realise the issues at hand and will vote purely out of past loyalties and religious views. I hope for all our sakes they are wrong! Philip Hall, Northern Ireland. Such dribble from Dodds.

Time all N Ireland MEPs were kicked into the long grass. Their nests have been well enough feathered by the gullible and bigoted and those who fear real change and openness.

Jim Allister is a sad worn out politician. Stick to law, Jim. Is this a European election or the usual unionist rantings?

Why has DUP stopped calling Sinn Féin, "IRA Sinn Féin"? 

The UUP told us they would work with Sinn Féin. The DUP lied to us to get elected and then went further than the UUP.

I am Protestant and Diane makes me sick! Who cares about keeping other parties out? Let's get real and think about the people who really care; us, the ones who are struggling to make ends meet!  

The DUP are very foolish to think that they are holding Sinn Féin to account; a leopard never changes its spots.
Ex-DUP voter

Sorry, I don't want my taxes going to any of your panel. They are anti-Europe but take all the perks. None of the peace billions have trickled down to the real victims of the last 100 years; all gone to quangos and phony investment and community groups run by gangsters and thugs.

Who in their right mind would vote for the DUP with a lady like that as a representative? So totally obtuse and rude.
Billy, Antrim

Vote for us to keep the other party out? What kind of policy is that? What will you do for the people of Northern Ireland who are working together? 

Diane Dodds needs to wise up! Unionisim, unionisim, unionisim! We want an MEP who works for everybody and Sinn Féin is that everybody.

You are only looking for the people's votes so you can claim for your toilet roll. 

People, in particular Unionist's would be silly to vote for yet another DUP dynasty.

I can't believe we are paying these people. You are a joke! You really don't know the people, idiots!

Why is it always about Sinn Féin with Diane and Jim? Do they not have anything else to say? They clearly don't care about us or Europe! 

Sick of hearing bickering between Jim and the DUP. Please grow up.
Philip, L'derry

The Protestant politicians are full of thinly veiled hate, even towards each other. 

Would someone drag Dodds into the 21st century? The Smash Sinn Féin days are over. Anon.

Dodds has not spoken one word about the Europe she is trying to influence!

The DUP are a spent force and good riddance.
Tom, Doagh

Would someone tell Diane Dodds she does not need shout when she tries to answer a question? 

Same old DUP, they destroyed unionism. 

The DUP have let the people down. They are now hand and hand with terrorists making Sinn Féin look like gentlemen. Shame on them.
Ex-DUP voter

Why is Diane Dodds there? She is a total embarrassment and completely out of her depth.
Anon, Newtownabbey

The Working Directive protects the working people. It is bad enough that employers are cutting wages.

Diane sounds like a broken record. lol. It's better than the Simpsons.

I think it is a disgrace that the DUP seem to concentrate on disgracing Sinn Fein and proving that they are trying to reject their policies with their unionist majority. Power sharing government is what it describes in its name; power SHARING not using a majority. In Europe the other member states would be laughing at the state of our supposed government! No wonder the electorate have a lower turnout, they are embarrassed.

Sunday 17 May 2009

On the Politics Show from Northern Ireland on 17 May 2009, Yvette Shapiro reported from North Down on the position of the local UUP MP, Lady Hermon, following her criticism of the party's alliance with the Conservatives.

Jim Fitzpatrick interviewed former MPs Ken Maginnis and Seamus Mallon about the Commons expenses row.

Ian Parsley and Steven Agnew, the Alliance and Green party candidates for the European election, joined Jim in the studio.

Here are some of your comments...

Start building gallows outside parliament then we'll see how quickly they'll hand our money back.

I was made redundant on Thursday morning at 8.30am without any wages. It makes me sick that these MPs can claim this money.
Thomas McManus, Belfast

Pensioners claiming pension credit have to show every bank savings account before they are considered.
Mary, Glengormley

A decent wage? MPs should have to live on an average wage so they know how hard it is to survive.

Two fine upstanding guests pontificating about double jobbing, fees etc- is it me or what? 

Gravy to be adopted as lifesaver? Apparently you can be up to the hairline in it without any danger. 

I demand a substantial tax rebate for the 50 years I have financed these pretentious leaders of my community.
Jim, Portaferry

I could not care about the elections. If Mickey Mouse and Goofy were standing maybe I might cast my priceless vote.
Lizzie, Fermanagh

God help us. We have a bunch of clampits who think they are English gentry instead of the hoi polloi the English deported here.

The UUP ties with the Tory party will be the nail in the coffin of a party of has-beens.
Walter, Belfast

Should Parsley not run for the Green Party?

Wondering why the fact that Cameron claimed £20k for his country home has only been mentioned fleetingly on the BBC?

Sunday 10 May 2009

On the Politics Show from Northern Ireland on 10 May 2009, Yvette Shapiro reported on voters' views of the European Union ahead of the elections on June 4.

Jim Fitzpatrick interviewed the Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward.

Jane Morrice, former head of the EU office in Belfast, and Dick James from the Fish Producer's Association joined Jim in the studio for further discussion of the role of the EU in Northern Ireland

Here are some of your comments...

We should have half as many MPs/MLAs getting half as much money.
J Long, Omagh

Average wage £24,000? Pure claptrap. The average pensioner is on less than £12,000.

An MP has just said she has a right to a second house for a family life. I agree but do what families do, pay your own bills. 

Politicians should be charged with theft.

Is this guy in the real world? Biscuits?

I get up at 6am everyday to drive 100 miles to work and that's to get there I can't claim expenses I have to do it to pay my bills.

I bet Shaun is sorry he left the Tories and joined Labour.

Because expenses are tax-free this money is all found to these MPs and hence very lucrative.

Tell them to take the money out of their own pockets like the rest of us have to do and have to struggle to survive.
Geri, Belfast

Nurses on community provide a car for which they get an allowance, this is then taxed! 

So-called politicians line their pockets every way possible. The rest of us on average pay have the equivalent of JSA as disposable income after paying 50% of net pay on private sector rent. I will never vote again.
Brendan, Belfast

It sticks in your throat that taxpayers are struggling to pay one mortgage and are unknowingly footing the bill for three-homed politicians! 

Why can't the government provide a block of flats for MPs at Parliament instead of MPs claiming for expensive second homes? 

It is now obvious that politicians have been knowingly and willingly defrauding the public purse. The police need to be engaged with a view to prosecution.

Note that Shinners' expense claims are being published. When are we going to get the total for DUP et al?

Sunday 29 March 2009

On the Politics Show from Northern Ireland on 29 March 2009, Kevin Sharkey reported on public services and the economy west of the Bann. The piece concentrated on the poor transport network.

In the studio, Jim Fitzpatrick discussed the points raised by Kevin's report with the Enterprise Minister and MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Arlene Foster.

The Minister then joined in a debate with the SDLP MP, Alasdair McDonnell, and the UUP leader, Sir Reg Empey, about the Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson's views on climate change.

Here are some of your comments...

All talk now is about the Scottish building society needing support. What is being done for the Presbyterian Mutual?

The country is facing the biggest economic downturn and Reg Empey is putting down silly motions. Have the UUP nothing better to do?

Yet another example of our politicians playing games and ignoring issues people care about.
Rich, Belfast

I feel it's a disgrace that the people of Fermanagh should continuously hand out money for road tax whilst the roads are a disgrace and a hazard. I personally have to pay nearly £300 this week for road tax on two cars to drive on roads which are continuously getting worse.

Ach, let the oul' monarch marry whoever. We'll be able to get a sub from the Saudis or the Vatican.

Perhaps Fermanagh is falling behind due to our very poor public representatives. There is more to being an MP/MLA than competing for newspaper space, especially when said people have babies. Pathetic! Cederic

The roads are a disgrace.

Complete rubbish; more money is spent per head in the west on roads - fact.
Graham, Portadown.

Don't worry about the new bypass. Fix the roads you have.

I recently tried to book a break in Londonderry, chill factor when I said 'Londonderry'! I'm going to Perthshire!

Can you tell Fermanagh people why they are paying for public services that are non-existent?
Colleen Killen, Fermanagh

Arlene is doing a good job for people in the West.

The north is at least 25 years behind the rest of the UK and Ireland. Every time there is a smash on any major road in the north it should be the Road Service and Government taken to court over it.
James, a local lorry driver

The roads are full of potholes. We would be safer to drive a tank. Where is the money for road tax going? We live in Omagh the roads are bad, hi! Anon

Sunday 22 March 2009

On the Politics Show from Northern Ireland on 22 March 2009, Kevin Sharkey's report asked whether there is a finance gap in the Executive budget.

In the studio, Jim Fitzpatrick chaired a discussion with the DUP MLA, Simon Hamilton, and the SDLP leader, Mark Durkan MP.

And Stephen Walker reported from the Alliance Party's annual conference in Dunadry, County Antrim.

Here are some of your comments...

Too many MLAs. There are 108 when 40 would do.

Why are the banks allowed to raise their rates from one per cent above base rate to three and four per cent above base rate?
Ivan Jobb

Now the house prices are down, are the rates coming down?

Local politicians like Mr Hamilton are the ones in Ivory towers at Stormont. They got paid for not even turning up. There are too many MLAs and too many senior civil servants.
Stephen, Bangor

Do we need so many MLAs? If we had twenty over-paid MLAs we would have still to many.
Alastair Armstrong

You can add your voice to the debate every Sunday by texting 81771 or complete the email form below.

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