NI leaders reveal Haass talks cost

NI leaders reveal Haass talks cost

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.

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.


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