DFM criticises Nesbitt for talks snub

Published Monday, 24 March 2014
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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has criticised UUP leader Mike Nesbitt for refusing to engage in further talks on the future of the Haass proposals on flags, parades and the past.

DFM criticises Nesbitt for talks snub
Martin McGuinness pictured in the assembly on Monday. (© UTV)

Speaking in the assembly on Monday, Mr McGuinness criticised Mr Nesbitt for not engaging in the process.

"I wonder what the Mike Nesbitt who interviewed me many many years ago on behalf of UTV, how he would conduct an interview with the Mike Nesbitt of today," he said.

"I have to say, he has turned out to be a major disappointment in this entire process and someone who has not contributed in any serious way to finding solutions to very serious problems."

The draft proposals on remaining contentious issues in Northern Ireland remain without consensus after the talks ended in December last year.

The recent details that emerged of a deal that Sinn Féin struck with the British government that saw so-called 'comfort letters' issued to some 190 on-the-runs also put the process in jeopardy.

DUP leader Peter Robinson has said he is not willing to talk about the past until the outcome of a two-month judge-led review into the scheme.

Mr McGuinness acknowledged the OTR scandal had caused "much discussion" but remained positive a way forward on Haass was possible if politicians showed "leadership".

"I think the big challenge for us, and certainly the scenario I would like to see, is whatever is happening in terms of whatever reviews are taking place over the OTRs that doesn't interrupt the essential work the party leaders have to engage in if we are to bring the Haass proposals to a successful conclusion," he added.

The UUP leader told UTV that he would not participate as he had not received an agenda as requested.

"I'm not going to sit in a debate about parades, the past and flags with Sinn Féin acting in bad faith," he said.

"They know that and it's just a sign of very very bad government that they can't produce an agenda for a meeting and Martin McGuinness knows he can't strap me to a seat and make me sit in leaders' talks."

© UTV News
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9 Comments
Michael in Templepatrick wrote (174 days ago):
Nesbitt has no interest in Northern Ireland politics nor is he very good at it, for him it's all about his personal profile. He's a TV personality ffs!
Michael in Newry wrote (174 days ago):
Mr. Hellfast, a major roadblock and the DFM wants to talk about it with someone who has stated they have a problem with the proposals, and you see this as an unreasonable request on the part of McGuinness? I think you'll find it's Mr. Nesbitt who thinks he owns the country by thinking he can bring down an international negotiation and not have to explain himself to the huge nationalist electorate McGuinness represents. I actually had high hopes for Nesbitt but he is just rubbish as a leader of unionism. he's like a mannequin or something
Dee in Newtownabbey wrote (174 days ago):
Unionism running away from democracy, compromise and equality as per usual.
Johno in Belfast wrote (174 days ago):
Mike Nesbitt is just an orange puppet going with the flow like UUP leaders from the past. At lest David Trimble had a bit of fire in his belly, and understood there must be a way forward. Even Ian Paisley saw the obvious in the end pity it was too late though. Robinson and Nesbitt will go down in history for been bystanders who just sat on the fence.
Jos in Belfast wrote (175 days ago):
A very good reporter who has turned into a puppet leader with no vision. How sad.
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BRIAN ROWAN
The voice above the crowd didn't come from within that increasingly tense and angry political arena.
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