Haass sets Monday deadline for deal

Final agreement on dealing with Northern Ireland’s troubled past, parades and flags must be struck by Monday, the independent chairs of all-party talks has said.

Measures intended to ease months of simmering resentment and violence are extraordinarily close to gaining support, said Dr Richard Haass, adding that the missing ingredient was not more time and urging politicians to grasp the opportunity to do a deal.

A marathon talks session starting at 6am on Monday will bring six months of increasingly intense negotiations to a head after Dr Haass cut short his Christmas break to kick-start one last round of crunch discussions.

He said: “At some point we have got to fish or cut bait, that time has come.”

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