Public expected failure from Haass proposals: Executive delivered it

Green Party NI has described the Haass proposals as a small step forward rather than a game changer.

“While there is much to be welcomed and commended in the Haass Report, in certain respects it does not go far enough,” Green MLA Steven Agnew said.

“The Haass Report lacks ambition and what we as a party want to see is a framework set up for civic conversation for the common good to bring citizens back into the process in a meaningful way.

“Based on the previous inability of Executive parties to work together to solve complex, historical and divisive issues, the public were naturally cynical about these talks and they expected failure.

“Sadly, those Executive parties delivered that failure and we have now descended into the usual blame game and speculation where nobody benefits.

“We sincerely mourn this lost opportunity when the Executive parties could have stepped up and shown the people of Northern Ireland they could go beyond self-interest and come to an agreement for the common good.

“Public cynicism and suspicion has been partly fuelled by the secretive behind closed doors nature of the intimate discussions around the Haass proposals where a literal and metaphorical wall of exclusion was placed between the process and the people.

“We believe important discussions which impact on the lives of everyone in Northern Ireland and which will have ramifications for future generations need to be taken out into the community through a process of civic conversation.

“We believe the people of Northern Ireland are more courageous and demanding and can take the lead on progress where Executive politicians have failed to do so.

“The Green Party has consistently promoted and championed participative democracy and we believe there is an urgent need to to involve citizens in discussions.

“The rationale behind this is simple – why would anyone support a process they feel excluded from?

“Society can only successfully and meaningfully move forward through consensus and that requires input and transparency around such landmark discussions.

“If the Executive parties want to show genuine willingness to work together to move society forward then where there is agreement on aspects of the Haass proposals then there should be no delay implementing those proposals.

“If they want a genuine reason to keep working at this, then I implore them to listen and acknowledge the words of National Union of Students President Rebecca Hall who said: ‘Young people are being left without hope and are worried that their future will be blighted by the trouble and division of the past. Their voices need to be heard, and Northern Ireland needs progress on creating a brighter, more prosperous future which is free from the shackles of segregation.’

Green Party NI submission to Haass Talks

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