Monitoring group says peace process stalled

Thursday 03 April 2014 21.40
Bertie Ahern, George Mitchell and Tony Blair on 10 April 1998, after signing the Good Friday Agreement
Bertie Ahern, George Mitchell and Tony Blair on 10 April 1998, after signing the Good Friday Agreement

A group which monitors the peace process in Northern Ireland has said that the moral basis for the Good Friday Agreement has evaporated.

It adds that the absence of trust in politics has resulted in an absence of progress.

The study, carried out by the Community Relations Council, also says that the grassroots impulse for reconciliation remains strong.

It says that educational underachievement, especially within the working class Protestant community, may create longer term social, economic and political issues if not addressed.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for European Affairs Paschal Donohoe has said there is an expectation that all parties involved in the Haass talks on matters relating to the Northern Ireland peace process must and should deliver.

Former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass held talks over Christmas aimed at addressing three contentious issues; flags, parades and how to deal with the past.

Mr Donohoe told the Dáil that Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore had met Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers on Monday to discuss the talks.

He said both Mr Gilmore and Ms Villiers were firmly of the view that Northern Ireland urgently requires a new way forward.

Minister Donohoe was responding to a question from Fianna Fáil Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Brendan Smith, who expressed his disappointment that there had been no successful conclusion to the Haass talks.

Mr Smith said there did not seem to be the urgency attached to these talks that he believed needed to be attached to them.

He said it was time for both governments to take a more hands-on approach.