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If parties are not self-serving, they will be fine

I, LIKE many others, was disappointed – if not surprised – that the Haass talks did not have a successful ending.

There does, however, seem to be agreement that the momentum built up within the Haass process will be continued within the parties. I remember that, when I was appointed speaker/presiding officer of the Transitional Assembly, we set up a committee for the preparation of government, which comprised members of all the parties and had, as its remit, to discuss various issues that would form the basis of a fully devolved government.

I remember that when I, as presiding officer, welcomed the members to the first session, I pointed out that this was the first time we had a meeting which would not be chaired by an outside person.

This committee worked tirelessly throughout the summer of 2006 and set up sub-committees to deal with specific items.

The rest of the Assembly worked through debates, discussions in the chamber and generally made preparations for devolution.

The people have had enough of fear and intimidation and the majority do want a stable, equitable society, which can be achieved by political society working with civil society in a constructive, positive way.

Politicians should have no fear of elections if they clearly show that they can work for the future good of all and not primarily their own parties' futures.

EILEEN BELL CBE

Bangor, Co Down

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