Haass initiative on North’s issues gets more than 300 submissions

Aim is to find agreement on parading, flags and legacy issues from the Troubles

US diplomat Richard Haass (left)  with Harvard professor Meghan O’Sullivan in Belfast on September 20th, 2013. Phortograph: AP Photo/Peter Morrison

US diplomat Richard Haass (left) with Harvard professor Meghan O’Sullivan in Belfast on September 20th, 2013. Phortograph: AP Photo/Peter Morrison

Wed, Oct 16, 2013, 01:00

More than 300 submissions have been received as part of the initiative chaired by Dr Richard Haass to find agreement on parading, flags and legacy issues from the Troubles in the North.

Both Dr Haass, a former US special envoy to Northern Ireland, and Prof Meghan O’Sullivan, a former US deputy national security adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan, are continuing to receive written submissions, a representative of Dr Haass said. Dr Haass and Prof O’Sullivan hosted the first plenary session of the Stormont parties in Belfast last month. They said the talks were productive and took place amid a “strong sense of possibility”.


Outside political arena
Prof O’Sullivan is spending this week in Northern Ireland where she is listening to testimony from about 20 groups largely outside the main political arena. They range from women’s and youth groups to bodies representing relatives and victims of the Troubles.

She continues to report to Dr Haass, who is due back in Ireland at the end of the month for further meetings with Stormont parties and others, as well as with the Government in Dublin and meetings in London.

The initiative, set up following approaches made by Sinn Féin and the DUP, runs until the end of December. Dr Haass and Prof O’Sullivan hope to be able to produce a framework on the way forward. Both have praised the manner in which the Stormont parties and representatives from civic groups have approached the initiative.