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Adams: This British government has not been positively engaged in peace process

Party leaders in Northern Ireland have agreed to intensive talks next week but Sinn Féin said the Irish government needs to be positively engaged for it to work.

Image: Hugh O'Connell/TheJournal.ie

SINN FÉIN LEADERS this evening met with the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to discuss efforts to negotiate agreement on outstanding issues in Northern Ireland.

Ahead of the meeting, party leader Gerry Adams told reporters that the Irish government needs to be “holding the British government to account”.

He said the fact that a planned meeting between Sinn Féin leaders and David Cameron next month will be the first meeting the British Prime Minister has had with them is an “indication that this British government has not been positively engaged”.

However he said it was up to the Irish government to encourage other groups involved in negotiations to engage.

“We need a champion for the Good Friday Agreement in governments,” he said.

Martin McGuinness echoed his party colleague’s sentiments, commenting that Sinn Féin had thrown their “heard and soul” into the Haass negotiations and signed up for his proposals but that this level of support for them had not been shown by either Irish or British governments.

Fresh talks will begin next week between parties on the unresolved issues of flags, parades and the past, and McGuinness said he hoped this time they would be successful.

He also spoke of his meeting last night with Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Belfast, describing her as a “very passionate supporter” of the peace process. He said she “sets an example that others should follow”.

Read: ‘A very nice meeting’ – Martin McGuinness had a private audience with the Queen last night>

Read: The Troubles, the parties and the loneliness of intelligence: Ireland’s Mensa story>

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