Robinson: More work needed for deal on flags

Northern Ireland’s First Minister has said much more work is needed to produce a deal on contentious parades, flags and dealing with a troubled past.

Peter Robinson said he had not thrown in the towel after talks chaired by former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass broke up on New Year’s Eve without an all-party accord.

The Ulster Unionists have already said some of his proposals were unacceptable but Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has claimed they should be implemented as they stand.

Mr Robinson said: “While the final Haass document contains many propositions that the DUP can support and endorse, there remain others that would neither be an improvement nor workable and would not help in resolving the problems they were crafted to solve.

“We are satisfied that the broad architecture is capable of housing long-term workable arrangements, yet the detailed components as drafted which would determine how those structures would operate need much more work before they could function in the best interests of the community.”

He said the party would continue to try to resolve outstanding issues.

“Unquestionably the work Dr Haass and his team have undertaken has narrowed the gap in a number of areas and our understanding of each party’s position will aid future negotiations,” he added.

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