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We'll soon be hearing a lot more about US Senator Gary Hart

Northern Ireland talks are already underway.

Former Senator Gary Hart
Former Senator Gary Hart
Image: AP/Press Association Images

A FORMER US Senator has been appointed to play a key role in the next round of Northern Ireland talks.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan welcomed the appointment of former US Senator Gary Hart as the personal representative of the US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

Talks

“Senator Hart’s appointment comes as the talks in Northern Ireland are underway. The contribution of the United States to the peace process has always been crucial to securing successful outcomes,” he said.

He said the announcement is an important step forward in seeking to “resolve the current political impasse and build an enduring peace and a reconciled society”. He added that he was grateful to Secretary of State Kerry and the US Administration.

Former US diplomat Richard Haass, who chaired the talks which failed to come to an agreement on flags, parades and dealing with the past last year, said previously that he hoped new talks would bring about a positive outcome.

Flanagan said Senator Hart’s political experience, analytical skills and his knowledge of Ireland will be immensely valuable in his new role. He said that preliminary contacts he has already had with stakeholders in the process will also stand to him.

He reiterated that the Irish government is fully committed to the talks process and said he looked forward to working with Senator Hart in the period ahead.

First published 21 October

Read: Haass will not be involved in Northern Irish talks>

Read: Tánaiste admits ‘on-the-runs’ controversy has ‘derailed’ progress in the North>

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