NI leaders reveal Haass talks cost

Published Tuesday, 25 February 2014
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The Office of the First and Deputy First Minister has revealed that the Haass talks process cost the taxpayer almost a quarter of a million pounds.

NI leaders reveal Haass talks cost
Dr Haass said he was frustrated at the outcome of his discussions. (© Presseye)

Between July and December last year former American diplomat, Dr Richard Haass, and Professor Meghan O'Sullivan, an expert in international affairs, held talks on tackling the three contentious issues of flags, parades and the past.

They met with the five main political parties, various community groups, organisations and individuals on how best to find a consensus.

Despite the talks running past the initial Christmas deadline and after seven drafts the international diplomatic experts could not reach agreement with politicians on how to progress.

Both Dr Haass and Professor O'Sullivan offered their services for free, however, the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister has revealed the total cost of the talks to taxpayers was £243,748.49.

In a breakdown of the costs, it was revealed £132,737.94 was spent on travel and accommodation, £21,800 on support staff and another £89,210.55 on "associated administrative costs".

Talks are still ongoing on how to progress on the Haass proposals and the party leaders are expected to discuss the matter at a meeting on Tuesday.

© UTV News
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6 Comments
Money for nothin' in Belfast wrote (294 days ago):
Money for old rope yet again. This money would have better served being put into the NHS. Disgraceful.
Equality in Belfast wrote (295 days ago):
This is why the state is the way it is. Unionists paid all this good money to say their favourite word. NO. When will they accept Equality has to come. Nationalists have to be given the same as Unionists.
barry in dungannon wrote (295 days ago):
FREE!!!!! thank god they didnt charge ,like to see a full breakdown of all charges ,hope every MLA is ashamed and embarrassed,but somehow i doubt it
Dude in Ards wrote (295 days ago):
Both haass and o sullivan offered their services for free.. So it was our parasitic politicians that racked up a quarter of a million pounds worth of bills, without actually managing to agree on a goddamned thing.. Top lads stormont, dup sinn fien who cares its all the same lazy fools taking a paycheque to sit in a cushy building doing little and less for actual hard working citizens of northern ireland
Michael in Templepatrick wrote (295 days ago):
Thanks unionists.
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