Belfast Telegraph

Ukip issues warning on Haass talks

The Haass talks will do nothing for unionists, Ukip's leader in Northern Ireland has said.

David McNarry told his party's conference in east Belfast that he believed the negotiations to resolve some of the region's most intractable issues had a pre-determined outcome.

He said: "Haass is an invitation to get sucked into talks, ending in another bad deal for unionists."

Dr Richard Haass, who was envoy to Northern Ireland between 2001 and 2003 under George W Bush's presidency, was asked by Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to chair the talks process.

He has until the end of the year to find consensus on three divisive issues - flags and emblems, parades and dealing with the past.

Mr McNarry, who previously described the talks process as a "blind alley", said he would not tolerate any early input from the Dublin government.

"Unionism has now been invited once more to sit down at a table, a table that can only end in further concessions from a people who want to give in no more. Ukip will play no part in another betrayal," said the Strangford Assemblyman.

In a hard-hitting address to delegates at the Stormont Hotel, Mr McNarry also claimed the power-sharing executive was not a proper government and was incapable of taking decisions.

He added: "There is little or no government happening and decisions are perpetually postponed. The unionist parties are far too comfortable in the present Stormont system."

Particular criticism was reserved for the two biggest parties in the executive.

The DUP was singled out over its apparent u-turn on support for the controversial Maze peace centre while Sinn Fein was accused of collective amnesia over the Disappeared victims of the Troubles.

Mr McNarry said: "Unionist leadership is shoddy, complacent and out of touch, content to operate within a flawed but cosy coalition at Stormont.

"Sinn Fein want enquires into everything but themselves. Their collective amnesia means they cannot recall where they put the Disappeared. No-one can remember if their president was in the provos (Provisional IRA)."

Gerry Adams has always denied being a member of the IRA.

Ukip MEP Stuart Agnew and the party's national secretary Jonathan Arnott were also among the key speakers at the day-long conference.

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