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Kenny and Cameron unite in ‘disappointment’ after failure of Haass talks

Both leaders discussed the matter this morning and urged all sides to focus on the common ground agreed during the process.

Enda Kenny and David Cameron during a press conference at 10 Downing Street. (File photo)
Enda Kenny and David Cameron during a press conference at 10 Downing Street. (File photo)
Image: Sang Tan/PA Wire

Updated 7.40pm

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY and UK Prime Minister David Cameron have urged all parties in Northern Ireland to keeping working to reach an agreement after the failure of the Richard Haass chaired talks.

The full text of the Haass agreement has been published online.

Haass is returing to the US this afternoon and, upon leaving, asked all parties to focus on the common ground achieved, something reiterated by Kenny this afternoon.

“I am disappointed that the talks chaired by Dr. Richard Haass have concluded without reaching agreement. I believe this will also come as a disappointment to the people of Northern Ireland,” he said.

I urge all the political parties in Northern Ireland to reflect on the progress that had been achieved. The Irish Government stands ready to work with the Northern Ireland Executive, and with the British Government, to support further efforts to achieve greater peace and build a united community in Northern Ireland.

Kenny said he spoke with his UK counterpart this morning following the break-up of the negotiations, with Cameron later issuing a statement in which he echoed Kenny’s disappointment:

Although it is disappointing the parties have not been able to reach full agreement at this stage, these talks have achieved much common ground, providing a basis for continuing discussions. There is a shared commitment to making progress on these very difficult issues that continue to be a focus for tension and division across the community.

imageDUP  members arrive for the final day of political talks at the Stormont Hotel. (Pic: PA Wire/ Peter Morrison)

The talks concluded earlier this morning with no form of words acceptable to all sides agreed, despite seven different drafts put forward by Haass and his colleague Professor Meaghan O’Sullivan.

Sinn Féin said that they endorsed the final document despite being unhappy with some aspects of it. A similar verdict was put forward by the SDLP.

The DUP, however, said that there were some parts of the draft to which they “profoundly disapprove” and as a result could not support it without further consultation with their party base.

Both Kenny and Cameron thanked Haass and his colleagues who have been working on the negotiations for months which followed a request from the First and Deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland.

Year of positive change

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams called for a “change of political and economic direction to break the cycle of austerity, inequality, unemployment and emigration” in his New Year message for 2014.

He called on the Irish and British Governments and all parties to make a collective effort to find a way forward based on the proposals issued by Haass.

“What is needed is a fundamental realignment of Irish politics. The Irish people deserve better than the politics of two conservative blocs or parties of the left propping up right-wing governments,” said Adams.

He also said that the future is about building the Peace Process, and that Sinn Féin “is committed to ensuring the full implementation of the Good Friday and all other Agreements”.

- Additional reporting Aoife Barry

Read: Haass talks in Belfast end without agreement >

Read: ‘Today is the last day in Belfast. Hope leaders seize it’ – Haass urges progress as deadline looms >

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Rónán Duffy

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