Long: Talks process must be dramatically improved

Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long has said the current talks process must be dramatically restructured if there is to be any chance of success.

Mrs Long was speaking after the latest round of talks took place today (Thursday), saying the list of unresolved issues was becoming longer with little sign of any progress in addressing them.

She said to date the talks process had been “nothing short of shambolic,” and there appeared to be a lack of desire to make real progress from other parties.

“We are, in real terms, no further on than when the Haass process ended, with the number of issues included increasing and the will to address them appearing to have diminished.

“This is the third set of talks in the past year and I am not the only one becoming increasingly frustrated at the failure to reach agreement to move forward. The constant bickering over who should be and had been participating in meetings was not a hopeful sign and it now appears there will not be another roundtable discussion between all parties before the November 28 deadline. That is not the way for high-level cross-party talks to be organised. Most of the progress made during Haass was done so in plenary format where parties could directly engage.

“Alliance remains committed to getting agreement on these issues but we are fighting an uphill battle with the lack of serious engagement from others who lack the will even to sit around the table, let along make the kind of decisions required to resolve these issues.

“If other parties aren’t committed to making the difficult decisions required to resolve these issues in the best interest of everyone in Northern Ireland, then they must be honest with the public and face the consequences of their actions.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *