Haass proposals will not be renegotiated, Adams says

Posted By: January 11, 2014

Mark Hilliard. Irish Times ( Dublin). Saturday, January 11, 2014, 16:28

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said draft proposals set out by Richard Haass on key issues in Northern Ireland must be adopted by all parties and will not be renegotiated.

The document, which has been rejected by the DUP, the Ulster Unionist Party and Alliance must also receive the endorsement of the Irish and British governments, Mr Adams said.

Negotiations to reach an agreement on the three key issues of parades, flags and the past reached an impasse at Christmas.

The proposed resolution set out by US diplomat Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan was formally adopted by Sinn Féin at its Árd Cómhairle in Dublin earlier today.

Speaking afterwards, both Mr Adams and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness warned that the opportunity must not be allowed to pass and called on opponents to engage.

“These issues are not going away; they clearly haven’t been resolved; they need [to be]resolved. The two governments need to be very, very clear and very unambiguous that they too support these proposals and will work with the parties to see them implemented,” Mr Adams said.

“The parties who have not come out and supported these proposals are out of step with the majority of opinion.

“We will reach an agreement; it’s a matter of time.”

Mr Adams would not be drawn on a timetable for agreement and said that the unionist position had been influenced by third parties including the Orange Order, UVF and elements of the former RUC.

Mr McGuinness pointed out that Sinn Fein had to compromise on its own position in order to come to an acceptance of the proposals.

“Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if the unionist parties had accepted Haass and we hadn’t? There would have been a tonne of bricks coming down on top of Sinn Féin,” he said.

“Voices need to be heard. We need to hear David Cameron say he supports the Haass proposals. We need to hear the Taoiseach say he supports the Haass proposals and hopefully we will hear the president of the United States or the White House make it clear that they support the Haass proposals.”

Yesterday, the DUP leader and Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said that the proposals were not balanced and needed further work.