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Back-slapping will have to wait

By Noel McAdam

Gary Hart was expected back in Northern Ireland for a party. Instead he's here again because the parties can't agree.

He is no Richard Haass, trying to forge accommodations between ancient foes. Hart's is a more gentle role, quietly reminding the Stormont leaders of American potential for real help, not least in terms of jobs.

He frankly admitted the White House had plans for a "victory lap" during the St Patrick's events last week to celebrate the achievement of the Stormont House Agreement.

Hart has to be diplomatic and steer clear of taking sides, but said there was "a bit of dismay" when the deal fell apart.

He was left in no doubt of the complexity in drawing up welfare schemes which will satisfy everyone.

So the back-slapping and handshakes will have to be postponed for a while yet.

Belfast Telegraph

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