Paul Tweed is a media lawyer specialising in defamation, privacy, piracy and intellectual property issues for a range of clients worldwide. Heading up the Media and Dispute Resolution departments of Johnsons Solicitors, he practises in England & Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. He is also registered as a Foreign Legal Consultant by the State Bar of California. His clients have included numerous well-known international personalities in music, film, sport and the entertainment world.
Goretti Horgan is a lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Ulster. She has been a member of the Socialist Workers Party since the 1980s and is a well-respected women’s rights activist, known particularly for her pro-choice campaigning. She was a founder member of the Women’s Right to Choose Group in Londonderry and of Alliance for Choice. An authority on children’s rights and the rights of the disabled, she lives in Derry with her partner and daughter.
Ian Paisley was elected Member of Parliament for North Antrim in 2010. He was first elected as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for the constituency of North Antrim in 1998. The father of four previously worked as his father’s political researcher and parliamentary aide.
John O’Dowd is Minister of Education and has been a member of Sinn Fein for over 25 years. In 2003 he was elected MLA for Upper Bann and had previously spent 14 years as a councillor on Craigavon Council. The father of three had pursued a career as a chef prior to his time in public office.
David Ford is Minister of Justice and leader of the Alliance Party. Since 1998 he has been Alliance’s MLA for South Antrim and leads a team of nine ‘United Community’ MLAs at Stormont. He has become known for his campaigning to improve the Northern Ireland rail network. Married with four children, David previously worked as a social worker.
A selection of your comments and messages.
ARE WE REALLY EXPECTED TO BELIEVE WELFARE REFORM IS ABOUT ENCOURAGING PEOPLE OFF BENEFITS AND INTO WORK WHEN THERE ARE NO JOBS?
I am disabled and worried sick like everyone like me. As a unionist, shame on the DUP, sucking up to Cameron at our cost. Geoff, Belfast
I cannot do without my DLA. I am a disabled sixty year old woman. I can never ever work and I would never survive without DLA. Rosemary
Some so-called disabled people spoil it for the genuine cases. Something needs to change. Joe, Co Down.
The welfare reforms are not focused on getting people back to work. They are being used to get people off benefits. I don't object to welfare reform. I do object to the way it's being conducted and the number of vulnerable people whose circumstances are being made so much worse by it. Lesa
These changes will push people off benefits into jobs that don’t exist, from poverty to greater poverty. Marty, Ardoyne.
DOESN’T THE DEFEAT OF THE EQUAL MARRIAGE MOTION AT THE ASSEMBLY SEND OUT THE WRONG MESSAGE TO YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM HOMOPHOBIC BULLYING?
Would Ian Paisley be sure there aren’t any gay members of the DUP? What would his attitude be towards a DUP member wanting a gay marriage? - Dave, Ballymoney.
Some of the main churches in the world don’t agree with gay marriage and I agree. That doesn’t make me a bigot. - Ciaran, Dungiven.
We're a Christian state and we should maintain our values. I agree with Ian Paisley, what are civil partnerships for? Simon, Dungannon.
I’m a gay man and totally oppose same-sex marriage. The level of commitment is just not there in the gay community. Hardly anybody is faithful. Conor, Derry.
Undermine the rights of two people who love each other? What a ridiculous statement. The definition of marriage has changed again and again over the years. Kameron, Bangor
I can't believe in this day and age that same-sex marriage isn't legalized. Gavin, County Armagh.
SHOULD WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEFEND OUR HOMES?
@PBY88- You should be allowed to protect your house from thieving scumbags.
What if you’re not able bodied and can’t defend yourself? They should be issued with licensed firearms. Sarah, Belfast.
What happens if you have dogs in your house and they attack the burglar? Christine, Greenisland.
An intruder in your home is no different than an invasion of a country. Defend it with any means possible. Dominic, Tyrone
If anyone is prepared to break into my house, they should be prepared for the consequences, regardless of what that might be. Joe, Cullybackey
Yes, we should have the right to defend our homes to an extent but murder is murder no matter what way you look at it. Wayne, Newry
IS IT NOW TIME TO STOP RE HIRING EX-POLICE OFFICERS?
Sinn Fein agreed to this package, it has backfired on them. Fred, Lisburn.
How do the young get training as police officers, when they take on retired police who got lump sums of money? Kate, Belfast.
People who are over 60, who have paid their dues to society should be given the opportunity to settle down and let the young ones have some work. Eddie, Bangor.
Should have been no re-hiring. Those who were should leave and head to "Patten-ville" in Sunny Spain. Conor, Omagh
The folly that was Patten. Republicans were duped and are being continually duped. Padraig, Belfast
We need our police force and we need to rehire the ex-police officers, as they are more experienced and know what they are at. Alison, Lisburn
WOULD ALLOWING PRIESTS TO MARRY STOP CLERICAL SEXUAL ABUSE?
I personally believe an abuser already has that sort of characteristic, regardless of vocation. It’s about control. However, let priests marry. Only God can judge. Stacie, Belfast
No, a priest should be married to his parish. Any priest that sexually abuses is not a man of God. Robert, Portadown
Priests not being allowed to marry is a law from a bygone age. I'd rather have a happy priest than one led into temptation. John, Lurgan
Allowing priests to marry is just a cover up for the amount of child abuse that went on within the church. Stop trying to hide it. Jack
Priests marrying might not stop sexual abuse but it would dramatically reduce it. Michael, Kircubbin
The Catholic Church should concentrate on bringing paedophile priests to account, instead of wondering if marriage would help sort them out. Angela
IS BELFAST A CLOSED SHOP FOR DRIVERS?
The bus lanes have added 30 minutes to my journey in the mornings for a service that is never on time. I see it as a waste of time and money. Becca, Belfast
I am a taxi driver in Belfast and it’s a nightmare to get to a customer during the day. Paul, Belfast
The government took the train service away between Belfast to Newcastle and Downpatrick. That would be the best solution. Ian, Killyleagh
It takes me 20 minutes to get as far as the West Link from Lurgan, then a further 40 minutes to get to my office in the city centre. Empty bus lanes, what a waste. David
We pay so much money for car insurance, tax and diesel, why would we want to leave our cars and take the bus? Gary, West Belfast
With the A5 dual carriageway to Derry being delayed and Belfast at a near standstill, the DRD needs to do better. Dermot, Derry
Spotlight Special, Tuesday December 4th 2012
Spotlight Special – the studio audience programme – is being recorded on Tuesday 4th December in Belfast. It's your chance to put questions to politicians and decision makers. To apply for tickets to be in the audience please phone 0845 300 3080. Calls will be charged at local rates, mobile rates may vary.
- Noel Thompson
- Ian Paisley
- John ODowd
- David Ford
- Goretti Horgan
- Paul Tweed
- Rachel Hooper