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"This is a compromise" - Adams urges parties to accept Haass agreement

The Sinn Féin leader has called on all parties to “grasp the opportunity” and reach a deal on contentious issues.

Gerry Adams after the Haass talks failed to secure a deal.
Gerry Adams after the Haass talks failed to secure a deal.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

SINN FÉIN LEADER Gerry Adams has called on the five political parties in the Haass talks and the British and Irish governments to “grasp the opportunity” to resolve outstanding problems and reach a deal on contentious issues.

Adams said that the draft agreement is a compromise aimed at finding common ground between the parties, which Sinn Féin supports.

“The issues of parades, flags and emblems and the legacy of the past are not going away,” Adams said. “Significant progress was made during the Haass talks. There is an onus on the Irish and British governments and all of the parties to maintain the momentum that was created and to build on this progress”.

The full text of the 39-page latest draft of proposals has been published online. Former US diplomat Richard Haass and vice chair Harvard professor Meghan O’Sullivan had been meeting with the leaders of five political parties in Northern Ireland to hammer out new arrangements for holding parades, flying flags, and contending with the legacy of past violence.

Haass had set a deadline of Monday for an agreement to be reached but returned to the US after a cross-party deal failed to be agreed upon.

Adams said it was not possible to agree on everything in the draft document but said that negotiation was about give and take.

“Sinn Féin would like to have seen some aspects of the proposed agreement strengthened and improved further. More work is required on parity of esteem, quality and respect for all cultures and identity. However agreement on everything was not possible,” he said.

He said that the negotiations were about making concessions and “accepting that there can be can be no outright winners”.

“The Haass proposals are a challenge to Sinn Féin and to all of the other parties,” he said. “Sinn Féin has stretched ourselves in these negotiations and we are up for this challenge. The other parties should not fudge their response. They should be clear”.

“Failure to reach agreement on these crucial issues will constantly bedevil the political process and make it difficult to reach agreements on social and economic issues that are essential for improving the quality of life for everyone”.

Sinn Féin’s national executive will meet on Saturday 11 January to discuss the Haass proposals and review the outcome of the talks process.

Read: Kenny and Cameron unite in ‘disappointment’ after failure of Haass talks >
Read: Haass talks in Belfast end without agreement >

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