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Talks process needs to look at reasons for Stormont collapse says Ireland's Future

Ireland's Future representatives Brian Feeney (right), solicitor Niall Murphy and commentator Andree Murphy. Picture by Hugh Russell

THE forthcoming talks aimed at restoring devolution need to examine the reasons why the institutions collapsed in the first place, according to the civic nationalist movement behind last year's open letter to the taoiseach.

The Ireland's Future group, which organised January's major 'Beyond Brexit' conference in Belfast, has welcomed the convening of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference next month but says the forthcoming talks process must be "credible".

In a statement issued yesterday as it announced plans for a second conference next month, Ireland's Future said the revived process must address the "rights deficit in the north and the discrimination, contempt and disrespect towards our Irish national identity".

The group said the Dublin government had a particular responsibility to uphold the rights of nationalists.

"Political progress and stability in the north depends upon the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and delivery of a rights based society," the group said.

"These must be central to any new talks initiative, and they are indispensable conditions if the political institutions here are ever to be restored on a sustainable basis – we have said this repeatedly to the Irish government and others."

The statement cited Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's 2017 assertion that northern nationalists would never again be left behind.

"All citizens are entitled to mutual respect, parity of esteem, and equality – these rights belong to everyone," Ireland's Future said.

"It should not be within the gift of any one political party to either confer or deny those rights to society."

The group's 'Our Rights – Our Future' conference will take place on the evening of Thursday May 9 at Newry's Canal Court Hotel.

Speakers at the event will include Mr Justice Richard Humphreys, a High Court judge in the Republic, citizenship rights campaigner Emma de Souza and Senator Ian Marshall.

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