Talks about institutions

John Manley Political Correspondent

THE Stormont talks will resume today with potential changes to the structure of the devolved institutions dominating the agenda.

Yesterday saw the five parties and two governments take part in a series of trilateral meetings focusing on the legacy of the Troubles and parading.

Now in their sixth week, the Stormont House negotiations are being conducted largely away from the glare of the media. Talks chair Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and the Republic's foreign affairs minister, Charlie Flanagan, are expected to report at the end of the month on progress so far. Speaking ahead of yesterday's meetings, Ms Villiers said she believed there was a "genuine desire" from all the participants to make progress. "The UK government will play its full part but ultimately it remains for the local politicians to make the hard choices necessary to get an agreement which will enable the executive to deliver the efficient and effective government that the people of Northern Ireland want and deserve," she said. Alliance leader and justice minister David Ford said the public did not want to see a third process fail within one year.

He was referring to the Haass process and the short-lived all-party talks in July which unionists walked out of. "These talks will only succeed if political leadership is shown from all sides," he said. "The consequences of failure will be drastic for Northern Ireland."


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