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Peter Hain accuses Stormont of failing to advance peace

By Staff Reporter

Published 15/07/2015

Former Secretary of State Peter Hain
Former Secretary of State Peter Hain

Former Secretary of State Peter Hain has said that nearly two decades after the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland is nowhere near reconciliation.

Mr Hain blamed local politicians for the lack of progress, claiming that they have not yet shown the will to move forward on dealing with the past.

Speaking at an 'Uncomfortable Conversations' event in Portcullis House close to the House of Commons last night, the former Neath MP said: "Very few of the conversations that I had with local political parties during my time as Secretary of State could be described as 'comfortable'. But we did get a deal that brought power back to where it should be; in the hands of locally elected and locally accountable politicians."

Mr Hain told the audience that he understood unionist concern that when it comes to dealing with the past the conversation could be one-sided, with a focus on state actions, but paramilitaries not being as forthcoming.

"Now we have the Stormont House Agreement that appears to be going nowhere because of the dispute over welfare reform. And until there is a comprehensive and inclusive way of dealing with the past, reconciliation will remain a long way off," he said.

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