Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Haass proposals: DUP reacts angrily to Irish Government's proposal of intervention

Eamon Gilmore
Eamon Gilmore

The DUP has hit back after the Republic's foreign minister claimed that the Irish and British governments would intervene if Northern Ireland's parties continued to dither over the Haass proposals.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said there would be joint intervention by the two governments to get Stormont parties to agree a way forward on dealing with flags, parades and the legacy of the Troubles if the current stalemate cannot be broken.

"The two governments are determined that we should not allow these issues to drift," Mr Gilmore told the BBC's Sunday Politics programme.

"I don't think there is a very long period of time within which this can continue on.

"I think if there is an intervention, I think it will be by both governments together."

But last night, East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said Mr Gilmore's suggestion was "unacceptable" and would "pour oil on the fire".

"Mr Gilmore's government can assist, as we have said on a number of occasions, particularly regarding the past, where their input is relevant," Mr Campbell said. "It was the Republic that helped finance the origins of the Provisional IRA, ministers from that government acted as midwives at the birth of the IRA, they then offered sanctuary and shelter for years to those same terrorists, on many occasions refusing to extradite them to face trial.

"Mr Gilmore should take the appropriate action which he can take, which is to apologise for the part his country played at the start of the Troubles."

UKIP Assembly member David McNarry said the Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, needed to "make it clear that her government is not in cahoots with Dublin over Haass", and that Mr Gilmore should "butt out" and "stop acting as a bookie's runner for McGuinness and Sinn Fein".

However, SDLP Assembly member John Dallat said the Tanaiste's comments had "given people hope for the first time in many months".

Meanwhile, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has told Sinn Fein members at a party meeting that, while republicans were prepared to compromise to consolidate the peace process, the unionist agenda was being set by extremists.

"I believe strongly that ordinary unionists want to see their political leaders reach compromises. They want to see their political leaders be peace makers," he told Sinn Fein's 'Six County AGM'.

"Unfortunately over the past 12 months it is the tiny minority have shouted the loudest; who have thrown the most stones and petrol bombs; who have blocked the most roads; have been the ones allowed to influence the political direction of unionism."

BACKGROUND

Talks chaired by former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass and Prof Meghan O'Sullivan failed to reach agreement on resolving problems over parades, flags and the legacy of the Troubles. A post-Haass 'working group' was seen by Sinn Fein as an implementation body for the final set of proposals, but the DUP saw it as a chance to continue to negotiate them.