Adams seeks Haass deal before elections

Published Tuesday, 01 April 2014
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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said that his party will be seeking an agreement on the Haass proposals ahead of this year's elections, dismissing suggestions that the issues will wait until May.

Adams seeks Haass deal before elections
Sinn Féin leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams. (© PA)

At a constituency meeting on Monday night, Gerry Adams criticised what he called the "negative approach" of the British government in dealing with proposals on flags, parades and the past.

He also claimed that it was mostly young working-class people who were "paying the price" as a result of failure to find viable solutions on controversial issues which have led to violence.

"It is they who are receiving prison sentences - not the leaders who encouraged them or those who failed to actively discourage such negative, sectarian and illegal behaviour," Mr Adams said.

"It is said that there can be no change in this situation until after the May local government and European elections. I do not accept this."

According to Mr Adams, public confidence has been damaged by a lack of support for the Haass proposals and the political structures of the Good Friday Agreement undermined over the OTRs.

He insists that reaching an agreement on the key issues raised in the talks chaired by US diplomat Richard Haass is possible before the European and local government elections in May.

I believe that an agreement on the Haass proposals in advance of the elections would send out a powerful and positive message of hope. That will be Sinn Féin's objective in the week ahead.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams

"However, to achieve this will require the British government taking up a clear position in support of the Haass proposals," Mr Adams said.

"The Irish government has already agreed that Haass represents the best way forward and the US administration has endorsed this in recent weeks."

Claiming that the political process in Northern Ireland was facing its greatest challenge in recent years, Mr Adams added: "Citizens do not want the process slipping back.

"This requires genuine power sharing and partnership. It also requires the focus of the two governments, but especially the British government and a change in direction by the unionist leadership."

Accusing Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt of "posturing with the NO men on the extremes of unionism", Mr Adams further added: "Middle unionism must feel badly let down by the clear effort on the part of political unionism to roll back on the progress that has been made since the Good Friday Agreement was achieved 16 years ago."

However, speaking at the UUP AGM over the weekend, Mr Nesbitt had already hit back at Sinn Féin criticism of his party and of his leadership as "a major disappointment".

"I commend all our elected representatives who do what's right for Northern Ireland. We understand it is not easy," he said.

"It's not easy at Stormont while the DUP and Sinn Féin cancel each other out in a stalemate that is, to coin a phrase, a "major disappointment".

"But Ulster Unionists seek a way around the impasse."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
much ado about nothing in Ulster wrote (299 days ago):
@realistic in planet earth I am not having a go at you when I say this but just because I don't mention certain things does not mean I am blind to them,To put it in some perspective I am by no means a fan of any politicians especially those political stubborn donkeys who truly deserve a kick up the ****.I'm sure we can both agree on that.
Michael in Belfast wrote (302 days ago):
Jackie, if you can use a search engine you can find the Haas proposals. Absolutely amazing how people dont take 30seconds to check something before giving off. Or is it because they weren't published in the Newsletter you thought they weren't public?
Leave it for now in NI wrote (303 days ago):
@Dee. I'm afraid that democracy is very much the right to disagree. Democracy is vital. What would you have preferred? Unionists overruled on something they felt they could not live with? Surely that would not have been a way forward. I am not a "naysayer" but a realist who wants to see a way forward, supported by all. Haas clearly did not deliver this. Fact. Everyone is entitled to their say. Democracy is nothing less.
Equality in Belfast wrote (303 days ago):
I really am dumbfounded as why many posters on here are asking why Gerry is commenting on the Norths affairs. Just to make it plain and simple Gerry is like the head of his party like and as so he like can comment on anything like his party like is involved with and being an all Island Party makes his input like more beneficial like. Sweet.
realistic in planet earth wrote (303 days ago):
@much ado about nothing in Ulster "drone on and on and on and on about flags and other such petty drivel." - i suspect twaddle avenue sounds much the same of an evening....:)....@jackie in belfast "I for one would like to know what the Haass proposals are as they have to my knowledge never been made public!" - they were jackie, the link was supplied on this very website........try to keep up.......:)........ I'm guessing the unionist politicians are stalling on haas until after the elections (ie-playing for votes), then they will agree.....just watch....:)
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