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Unionist leaders need to do just that - lead - Kelly.

7 January, 2014 - by Gerry Kelly

Commenting after the UUP rejected the Haass Proposals and the DUP failed to take a decisive decision on them  Sinn Féin Negotiator Gerry Kelly said that the people deserve much better political leadership than being given by the unionist parties.

Mr Kelly said:

“Last week Richard Haass was very clear in what he required of the parties. He asked the respective negotiating teams to take his document as a whole and recommend it to their respective party leaderships as the basis for solving these outstanding issues.

“Since then neither unionist party leader has been willing to commit to recommending the Haass document. This despite the fact that Mike Nesbitt was claiming during the talks that 80 or 90 percent of the issues had been addressed. More tellingly in the plenary after Richard Haass had sent his final document Mr Nesbitt claimed that he was prepared to recommend the package as it stood to his party.

“Since then his position has completely changed. Now he is claiming the Haass proposals are ‘neither viable nor acceptable’. What has changed Mr Nesbitts position in just over a week? That is a question he needs to answer.

“The DUP have not even called a full meeting of their party Executive to discuss the Haass proposals let alone a recommendation from either the party leader or the negotiating team to accept them.

“Both parties were quick to dismiss the allegation that they are being led by the nose by the Orange Order and extreme loyalism. Yet it is difficult to come to any other conclusion as events unfold.

“This process like every other negotiation requires political leadership and political courage. Negotiated documents are by their nature compromises. Unionist leaders are failing the test of political leadership and ignoring the vast majority of people here who want to see agreement and want to see politicians making deals and honouring them.”

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