Adams seeks action on Haass impasse

Monday 31 March 2014 19.31
Gerry Adams says there is an opportunity to send out a powerful message of hope
Gerry Adams says there is an opportunity to send out a powerful message of hope

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has urged Northern Ireland's political parties to revisit the problems that were not resolved during negotiations chaired by US diplomat Richard Haass. 

In a speech to be delivered in Belfast tonight, he says that it would be a mistake to postpone revisiting the problems until May's local and European elections are completed.

Mr Adams says that if the main parties at Stormont could reach an agreement on contentious issues such as flags, parades and how to the deal with the past before the May elections, it would send out a powerful and positive message of hope.

He is critical of the British government, claiming it took a negative approach to the Haass talks. 

He also says the decision by the British government to unilaterally breach agreements reached at Weston Park in 2003 in relation to so-called 'on-the-runs' had undermined the political structures of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Adams says the problems in the peace process require the focus of the two governments, but especially the British government, as well as a change in direction by the unionist leadership. 

Meanwhile, in Dublin today, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore met Northern Ireland's Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers.

In a joint statement afterwards they said both governments will actively support talks among Northern Ireland's political parties on the Haass proposals in the interest of an early agreement being reached.