Belfast Telegraph

Richard Haass talks: Meghan O'Sullivan's mum wants her home for Christmas

By Rebecca Black

Memo to our politicians – Meghan O'Sullivan's mum wants her home for Christmas.

Scores of international diplomats from US senator George Mitchel to former Prime Minister Tony Blair have failed to meet deadlines when it comes to political talks in Northern Ireland.

Even working around the clock during the infamously drawn-out Good Friday Agreement negotiations, our politicians still missed deadlines.

Former US President Bill Clinton, who then dazzled the world, could not hurry along the Ulster Unionist negotiating team in 1998 with his personal phone call to then leader David Trimble.

But can an American mother's wish to be reunited with her daughter at Christmas do the trick?

From the start of the Haass talks in September, there has been scepticism about whether these negotiations will be any different from previous ones.

And yesterday Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ni Chuilin said her party is prepared to work up until Christmas Eve.

But Richard Haass has stated confidently several times during the delicate process that he will have finished by Christmas.

His assistant Professor O'Sullivan let slip during one of the first Press conferences she attended that someone is particularly keen to see her home for Christmas.

The 44-year-old from Lexington, Massachusetts, has advised the White House on Iraq and Afghanistan in the past and even narrowly escaped injury in a bomb while in Iraq by scaling a building ledge. But her mum is still keen to get her daughter home for Christmas dinner.

Ms O'Sullivan joked to reporters when asked if the talks team would still be here by Christmas: "You must have been talking to my mother."

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