12/01/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Mark Carruthers looks at the political developments of the week and questions policy makers on the key issues.

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foundation to build on? What are we to make


foundation to build on? What are we that he's gone home, amid


disagreement and retribution? Sinn Fein and the SDLP have backed the


package, the two unionist parties haven't, while Alliance is


supportive of some proposals but very unhappy with others. In a


moment, I'll be talking to representatives of the five main


parties, but first our correspondent, Martina Purdy,


examines the political drama over the latest proposals to tackle


flags, parades and the past. Richard Haass, you are very welcome.


This is a very serious attempt to find a solution. I would not be here


unless that. I believe that the process is on life support.


Some commentators have displayed -- declared the Haass process dead, and


are already on the postmortem. We have a process that runs for many


years, and are too many issues needing to be solved. Even one of


those issues being resolved would have been a miracle, but expecting


three of the issues to be done in that time frame was a nonsense right


the start. Others have a more optimistic prognosis. I think there


is still life there. The emphasis is on the local parties to find a


remedy to the problems in the process. That requires all of them


to buy in. Whether that means that there will be discussions or


full-scale negotiations, we are yet to see.


In the meantime, the drama can be excruciating. Some parties seem to


be re-trench in now. It sends a bad example out internationally. It is


embarrassing to explain this to my colleagues. On the back of the


conference that we did a few months ago, will we are now having to say


that we cannot get our act together, and that sends a bad message.


that we cannot get our act together, complained about the process.


that we cannot get our act together, is a code of conduct, and they say


that the balance is against the state forces and do not like the


fact that the word terrorist is not in the tech will stop Richard Haass


is saying that it is unrealistic to expect everything that you want in


negotiations. I do not understand why anyone would


ink that is not moving ahead would be preferable. I think it is unfair


to the victims and survivors who deserve better full is. I think it


is very bad for Northern Ireland. Republicans want Haass indicated,


not more negotiations, but are being urged to return to the table with


Unionists. If there is a consensus to spend some time ironing out the


issues, fine. You want to avoid where basic issues are opened up and


renegotiation is an excuse not to go ahead and stop that will become


apparent soon enough. Some expect that the DUP call for


more talks is about buying more time. People are concerned about the


electoral advantage, and the whole next year.


They have their eye on that prize, and they would love to win East


Belfast back. The problem for the DUP is the extent to which there are


Dale tales wagging on that dog, and the concern about the feeling in the


heartland areas and whether that will cause electoral damage. Even


loyalists believe the Haass proposals for a much-needed


examination of victims issues. All is not lost stop we try to get what


we thought were reasonable suggestions.


Someone listen to and not. But we do feel that there is an opportunity to


move forward. Martin McGuinness is that there is a destructive elements


who do not want to move on. That is a bit rich.


who do not want to move on. That is Martin McGuinness is


who do not want to move on. That is responsible. Some warned about


division, and street violence like this unless it on flags.


I think there will be more negativity, more disillusionment and


cynicism. Probably that will end up in Wall Street having more tensions


involved. -- many street. I worried that the two Divinity School parts.


And there are economic consequence is. -- the two communities grow


apart stop some of the things are happening near our office is, so it


is obvious that people are concerned.


It is regrettable, to say the least stop church leaders have urged our


politicians not to give up. As politicians are due to meet next


week, one of the options is to implement Haass in stages.


Well joining me now are Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly, the SDLP's Alex


Attwood, Jeffrey Donaldson from the DUP, the Ulster Unionist Party


leader, Mike Nesbitt and the Alliance Party's deputy leader,


Naomi Long. Welcome to the programme. Naomi, can


be clever one thing. Did your party endorse or reject this package? --


can we clear up. We reserved our chance to be highly


critical of what was in the document, because people expect from


our party that would we are very strong about our future, and honest


about our assessment of the package and what it will deliver. We were


very honest about that. It was clear listening to Doctor Haass that he


interpreted that you rejected the package. That may have been his


interpretation, but I was very clear in the room and that is not what we


did. The package fell well short of what we had called for, which was an


ambitious document that addressed all


ambitious document that addressed commission and stop us


ambitious document that addressed progress. In the past, I have agreed


with Richard Haass and we have a obligation to move it forward. On


parades, I agree with his analysis, some improvements made and a way to


go. Richard Haass was clear that the


parties who did not sign up to the deal that the parties who did not


sign up need to clarify why they did not do so full. Why did the DUP not


sign up? We want the best. Where I do agree


with Richard Haass is that it has to be good for victims and survivors.


He says not signing up is not good. It's quite specific about that. Yes,


but I want the best for them, and what is on the table at the moment


is not stupid and a even a 90% of people in the right fact that


government cannot acknowledge that, by that, in the case still have a


ways to go to address what is have in mind of evil is clear in the


document that there was something in the document for everyone including


Unionists. You failed to clear the bar.


It does require compromise. How do you compromise on something as the


fact that 90% of the deaths in Northern Ireland were caused by


terrorism and Doctor word-mac cannot even -- Doctor Haass cannot even


acknowledge that. If he went and talked to the victims of


described the victims of that atrocity but did not include that it


was an act of terrorism, he would be chased out of New York.


But you are also turning your back on some things that Richard Haass


say are good for unionism, that should be what you want.


We are not turning our back on anything. We need dialogue to turn


the gap. We have made progress in terms of how we would deal with the


past. We have made progress on parades. And on flags, we didn't get


agreement there. But the opportunity is to take forward a discussion that


everyone can getting gauged in. There are positives there. -- can


get in gauged in. The DUP is not walking away from the table. -- can


become involved in. What is agreed, and what needs to be


discussed? All the five parties of the executive wanted Richard Haass


to do this. We wanted to be able to do this. He listened to everyone and


brought us closely guarded from the outside. -- closely gathered. All


the parties were involved. We brought him in. There was a


statement from the four churches saying that we should agree to the


implication and we have had something that we are glad to hear


about. That night it was not clear, but it is very clear now. We have


three parties here, we should implement the proposals.


She still wants negotiation on other points. Let me be clear. I believe


that what is in the document should be implemented, but I worry that


when we go to implement on parades, there


need to close the gap. What Richard Haass has given us is a prescription


for more torque, but I do not think it is a good prescription.


You are playing with words. Naomi did not say renegotiate. She said


let's implement this. Are there difficulties? Yes, there are. He


said that 80 or 90% happy with the programme. When you are talking


about five parties, if we could all say that, we would be doing very


well will stop that was during the process.


So a revised position then. He has made that clear. We do have an


agreement. Now, the British and Irish governments need to get


involved and talk about it in terms of implementing it. They need to say


whether they are for or against the agreement. The bottom line is that


what you have to do surely is reaching agreement with the


Unionists, not with Richard Haass. At the moment, you and Richard Haass


are singing of the same song sheet, but the Unionists are not there. The


Unionists have to explain why they are not there. I have difficulties


with this as well. Even within the British system, within the system


they defend, the Welsh language act is protected, the Scottish language


act is protected and there seems to be this pathological hatred of


Irish. In the hall, this is a document we can move on with. That


is what three of the parties are seeing. This is a political


agreement. Every single agreement we have had, the biggest difficulty was


implementation. We are dealing with three issues which were already


dealt three issues which were already


were 80 or 90% there. Then what changed? I said the ten or 20% not


over the line represented serious issues for us. Gerry Kelly is


misrepresenting my position. It was an initiative from the First


Minister and Deputy First Minister. The other three parties bought into


it. Who would not agree to enter into a process that would see better


outcomes on these issues? The most important and significant


intervention since Richard Haass went home came on Friday when the


Irish foreign affairs minister, in response to the -- to the debate on


who was responsible for the car bombs, said it was an act of


terrorism against innocent victims. If it is good enough for Dublin, why


isn't it good enough for bloody Friday in Belfast? The British were


involved in that. Was it terrorism? I am not talking about who was


responsible. You asked me a question. Terrorism can come from


governments as well. Let's move on. Is it worth sinking the entire


process which Richard Haass says would be good for everyone in


Northern Ireland on the basis of trying to get Jerry Kelly to sign up


to your narrative and use of language? It is not my narrative. It


is the rule of law. The 2000 Terrorism Act gives a definition of


terrorism. I uphold the rule of law. Richard Haass says this would be


good for victims and survivors. Richard Haass says this would be


proposals. They didn't want it. You are the leader of a political party


which represents an awful what of people. Some of them are victims.


Are you not have a mandate to take difficult decisions and then explain


them to people who support you and don't support you based on the


decisions you have taken? That is political leadership. I have agreed


with the victims I have spoken to that it was not a good deal because


it was airbrushing terrorism out of history. My leadership was to say I


would not allow that to happen. You are not undermined by your party


Executive? You didn't find the rug pulled from under your feet? A lot


of people think that happen. The words of the motion are the words


that I wrote. We have some optimism because we have a meeting on Tuesday


of the five parties. I think that should happen and it should be a


quiet conversation. The big story this week is not the fallout from


Haass, it is the fallout from closure of accident and emergency


units. You can't pretend that Haass isn't also a huge issue. Let's do it


quietly and get on with it the way we are supposed to do, at Stormont.


Dealing with the issue of language, Gerry Adams has recently described


some IRA activities as murder. I don't have any issue with saying


that there was terror imposed on this island by paramilitary


organisations. Did this document deliver a possibility for both sides


to agree on those issues? Everybody agrees the position of greatest


strength in agrees the position of greatest


mentioned the comments made by the minister in Dublin. He also said


that his understanding of Haass was the Irish state, if there was a


truth and recovery process, would have to give all the information.


That demonstrated the Irish government is now thinking about the


implementation of Haass. That is something the British government


should now think about. Are they prepared to say that when it comes


to Haass and its implementation, all British records will be made


available. Those are the questions we should be concentrating on, in


order that we don't let down the victims and survivors again. They


have suffered the most and they deserve the most. What compromises


did the SDLP make? Unionists said they were not prepared to make the


compromises which were being demanded of them. What did you give


up on that was geared to you? We have been loyal defenders of the


parades commission. Another is described the parades commission as


cheerleaders for sectarianism, the SDLP access it as the rule of law


the parades commission. We had conversations with Jeffrey Donaldson


that we were prepared to look again at the architecture around parading.


But the other parties could not compromise on that important access


between rights, responsibility and relationships which was at the core


of resolving the dispute on parades. So we did compromise. There are


issues in this document were rethink through implementation we can get


even better. But do not know put in jeopardy the best chance since 1998


to deal with some of the biggest issues we have never faced up to the


four. There has been a lot of discussion over the last ten days


about what went wrong and discussion over the last ten days


two governments? Do we need to see David Cameron and Enda Kenny step in


to be more proactive? My reservation about the proposals on flags are


that if we couldn't even discuss those issues when they were on the


table, how do you take that forward? The governments need to be


involved. They are not by standards. They are protagonists in


the troubles and the need to be involved. I think we are starting to


see some evidence of that happening. I am sceptical about how hands only


want to be. Important thing Richard Haass said was that more time will


not solve this, it is more of leadership that is required. I don't


want the parties to be involved in another process which will be


rehashed the last six months. I think the public are tired of our


arguments. They want to see delivery. The real progress will be


who can deliver these agreements. We cannot resolve this unless we can


get some issues off the table. Some parties want to implement what is


there and you want to renegotiate what is there. How do court that


circle? There isn't agreement. You can't implement something that is


not agreed. There needs to be agreement between the five parties.


Don't yet have an agreement. For people to talk about implementation


when we don't have an agreement is an very best premature. We need to


close the gap on whether our areas where there is not agreement. I


believe that can be done. Based on the discussions we had during those


talks... Jerry Kelly has said he does not except your narrative.


talks... Jerry Kelly has said he narratives. One of the things which


came out of narratives. One of the things which


acceptance by all that there is not a single narrative. Unfortunately


Mike continually wants to say there is a single narrative. If it is good


enough for Aidan Gilmour and Irish government and for Gerry Adams to


use the term murder in relation to some of the activities of the IRA,


why isn't it good enough for you? I didn't say it wasn't good enough for


me. Mike has reduced this down. Terrorism is mentioned in the


document. One of the issues is language. We are prepared in all of


this to deal with the issue of language. I repeat this again and


again. There are a series of narratives. He is confusing


narrative and facts. Those car bombs were acts of terrorism. Let's end on


looking to the future rather than the past. Give us a timescale for


sorting this out. Tuesday will tell a tale. Peter Robinson once a


working group to resolve differences. Martin McGuinness once


a working group to implement Haass. They have to work jointly and it is


up to them to implement this. Will the British government confirm that


whatever they are prepared to fund and show leadership, I think that


will be a position of strength. Irish government have already shown


leadership. We need to leave there. No doubt we will need to return to


these important issues in the future.


Thank you all very much. I'm joined from London by the Secretary of


State, Theresa Villiers. Thank you for


State, Theresa Villiers. Thank you was recently made we will come back


to in a moment. Has the time now come for the two governments to step


up to the plate and take ownership of this issue? Both governments have


been supportive and involved from the outset. Before this process was


set up, myself, my predecessor and the Prime Minister continually


pressed and encouraged the Executive to move forward on a range of issues


to help heal sectarian issues. We were delighted when these proposals


were published. I thought it was a good idea to have this further


process on three of these enormously difficult issues. Throughout, I have


worked with the parties in Northern Ireland to support that process and


encourage everyone to find a way to move forward on these difficult


issues. You deliberately adopted an arms length approach during


negotiations. They have failed. If you want to avoid political drift,


you need to re-engage ready quickly. I am engaged and will continue to


being gauged. I think it is wrong to say that it has failed. Even with


the robust discussion you have just had. A lot of the parties are seeing


the parties are saying there is a willingness to continue the


conversation. What came out from the discussion you have had is that the


meeting between party leaders on Tuesday will be very important. That


is an opportunity for them to keep this process alive and keep working.


I think there is a lot to be said for trying to narrow down the issues


of difference between the parties to try to focus on a further discussion


to see if we can get this agreement across the line. I suppose my


question is, if that something you expect the parties to do on their


own in a room around a table? Or are you an Irish government going to


help facilitate that discussion? They didn't manage to sort those


issues with Richard Haass that on their own?


We are prepared to facilitate, but we will only get a solution if there


is a cross-party agreement within Northern Ireland. In many senses,


that was the whole point of devolution, so that decisions on


crucial issues like this could be made by the people elected by the


people of Northern Ireland. Explain what you mean when you say that you


want to encourage and facilitate agreement and discussion. What does


that mean? Does that mean that you will chat discussions of that is


necessary, that she will call them together, or you will sit on the


sidelines and let them get on with it on their own?


If I was asked to comment cherry process, I would. -- to chair a


process. I hope that they will respond to the many comments in


Parliament this week when MPs from across the house and size to how


important it was to seize this opportunity. I think considerable


common ground was built up between the parties, even the parties who


cannot accept proposals yet seem willing to continue to have a


conversation to try and resolve those outstanding issues. That is


the important thing for the party leaders to bear in mind. If those


issues were easy to resolve, they would have been fixed years ago.


What about Alex Attwood's specific point, are the British Government


prepared to fund and implement the Haass proposals? The British


Government says that the proposals should largely be funded by the


block grant, which we already provide to Northern Ireland. We


already provide other funds to the Irish government. If they want to


come to the British Government, and ask for more funding, we will


come to the British Government, and Alex act would -- Alex Attwood be


promised that he asked for, because we think that the funding should


already come from the ground that they already get from the executive.


I am joined by Alison Morris from the Irish News and Neill clerk from


the Belfast Telegraph. That was a very clear answer from Alex


Attwood's question. No additional funds at this stage. These


potentially expensive bodies would have to be paid from by the block


grant. She's did not say no, she said at


this stage. There is some room, but it was one thing that was not


counted for when they did the Haass negotiations. It was not considered


how much it would cost to implement. It was all right not counting the


cost during the Good Friday negotiations because Tony Blair was


there to foot the bill with the booming economy. Stopping violence


is something that the economy should focus on, and it is a bit disturbing


that it is not being focused on at the moment, they are focusing on


whether or not words like terrorism are included.


Is it surprising that it is the language that is dividing people at


the moment? You do not get the sense from the


two Unionist representatives, they are painting themselves into a


corner. It is unlikely that you could get Sinn Fein to agree to the


word terrorism. It was said that the people who were acting illegally had


to bear the greatest responsibility for the Troubles.


We have parties who want to implement and others who want to


negotiate. Where did we go from here? It will be very interesting to


see the outcome of the leaders meeting. We did find out there was


an issue involving the use of meeting. We did find out there was


brought relief to the survivors and victims, I think many of them will


be disappointed that the issue of language is halting what could give


them a recovery process. It is a good example of politics in


Northern Ireland, that if it is good for one side the other side you not


think it is good for them. Is it that simple? I think that once Sinn


Fein agree to it, it is difficult for the DUP to give it to their


electorate. People wanted to bring it into the commission and give them


an opportunity to get rid of it before the next elections. What they


have done is halt that process. We will hear more from you soon. We


will look at the political week gone past in 60 seconds.


Heavy rain and strong winds brought fears of flooding and there were


stormy seas to navigate. The idea that this agreement can keep on


being negotiated and sometimes positions will change dramatically


and the parties will change dramatically is not realistic.


Tributes were paid to Paul Goggins who died on Wednesday. I first met


him when he was Northern Ireland Minister, and he was outstanding.


There was a major incident at the Royal Victoria Hospital due to a


backlog of patients in a Haass. We -- in A Mac. We have had an


unreasonable amount of patience. And might we see Richard Haass again?


Would you come back if it sorted it out once and for all?


The few final thoughts from Alison Morris and Liam Clarke. That laugh


was very telling. He is not Morris and Liam Clarke. That laugh


if he would come Morris and Liam Clarke. That laugh


impression that Richard Haass would intervene again, but not on that


long-term basis. Was he ruling himself out about being axed back --


asked back? I do not think there is a point in him coming back. The


parties need to agree with each other, not with Doctor Haass. They


need to get the Unionist parties on board and the few concerns that the


Alliance Party have. Will we ever going to see


agreement? They agreed the devolution of policing and justice


before an election. It is possible that if the politicians want to do


it that it would, but the mood is not very good at the moment, and we


have Monday and Tuesday's meeting. What would you be hoping for in that


meeting? Any sort of group that is setup is currently seen as a


delaying tactic. The concerns have to be met before the election. That


way, they can say that they are working on the issues, without


committing themselves to anything. And he for joining us on the


programme. That is it for today. I will be back tonight. Mont Today.


Thank you for joining us. Goodbye. -- for storm want today.


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