Northern Ireland news

Taoiseach calls for compromise ahead of fresh Stormont talks

Leo Varadkar urged Stormont's two largest parties to be 'generous'

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has appealed to the DUP and Sinn Féin to compromise during the forthcoming round of negotiations in order to revive the devolved institutions.

The Fine Gael leader urged Stormont's two largest parties to be “generous” and make concessions in the talks, which are due to begin next week.

The institutions have been on ice since Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy first minster in January 2017.

The last round of negotiations broke up without agreement in February last year when the DUP rejected a draft deal.

"We’d like people to focus on making them a success and that really requires all the parties, but particularly the two largest parties, the DUP and Sinn Féin, making progress and being generous and even making a few concessions that would allow us to get the powersharing institutions up and running,” Mr Varadkar said.

Meanwhile, the former head of the body responsible for decommissioning paramilitary weapons in the aftermath of the Good Friday Agreement has voiced concerns about the failure to resolve significant political differences more than 20 years after the end of the Troubles.

John de Chastelain, one of the team of international peace brokers whose work led to the 1998 accord, told The Irish Times that it was never a “hard and fast political solution” to all the problems facing Northern Ireland, but rather a “blueprint” showing what should happen, with a lot more work required to make it happen.

“My great regret is that more than 20 years after the agreement was brought into effect, there are still those who are seeking to use violence to change what is achieved, particularly when a whole new generation of people who weren’t alive during the Troubles are now voting,” he said.

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