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Haass talks tactics an affront to democracy

 

Despite marathon negotiations in 2014 between the political parties in the north, chaired by US diplomat Dr Richard Haass and talks vice-chair Professor Meghan O’Sullivan, the parties failed to reach a consensus on the seventh and final set of proposals.

Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Alliance Party, despite some reservations, were prepared to recommend to their respective ruling executives acceptance of the Haass proposals on flags, parades and the past.

However, the make-up of the DUP delegation ensured no such agreement was ever a likelihood.

The co-opting of the Rev Mervyn Gibson as a DUP delegate, despite the fact that he is not a party member, was an indication from the outset that the DUP would not accept any resolution from the Haass process which was unacceptable to the Orange Order.

Such methods of negotiating are an affront to accepted standards of dialogue between participants representing divided communities.

TOM COOPER

Dublin

Belfast Telegraph

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