“Leaders welcomed the opportunity to meet and engage in a discussion…”

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According to the BBC report, after a “meeting at Stormont Castle, which began at 0930 GMT and lasted almost eight hours, [and] was supposed to take place last week but was cancelled after some parties refused to attend”, “The leaders of Northern Ireland’s five main parties have reaffirmed their commitment to the rule of law”.

Phew.  That’s a relief…

Although, it’s not entirely clear from the reports which “leaders” they mean exactly.  [Was Gerry there? - Ed]

The UTV report has some quotes from the “leaders” statement.

A statement said: “Leaders welcomed the opportunity to meet and engage in a discussion of the events over recent days and weeks.

“Party leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the rule of law and the primacy of the political process and deplored violence, attacks on the PSNI, as well as threats to elected representatives.

“Recognising the importance of culture and identity within the community, and conscious of the impact on business, political leaders re-emphasised that their task was to find political solutions and to ensure peace and stability for the people of Northern Ireland.”

The leaders continued: “The meeting was adjourned and will reconvene in the New Year to further discuss these matters.”

Well, with a bit of luck, it might have resolved itself by then…

Adds  In the Irish Times Gerry Moriarty notes

…it was clear there had been no meeting of minds. The leaders were coming from opposing positions. Mr Robinson and Mr Nesbitt favoured a consultation on flags and emblems but it seemed apparent that this was resisted by Sinn Féin, the SDLP and Alliance.

After the meeting the leaders, who would make no comment, issued a short statement that illustrated the inconclusive nature of the talks.

Indeed.

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  • David Crookes

    Fifty million pounds a year or whatever they spend on PR, and they come out with a bucketful of ghastly prose like that! Nikita Khruschev could have written better English.

    Thanks for inspring us all, boys.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    The leaders of Northern Ireland’s five main parties have reaffirmed their commitment to the rule of law>>

    If anyone can convince me that all of the leaders of the 5 main parties attended the meeting (by naming those who attended), I will make a donation to the Slugger tip jar.

  • BarneyT

    hold on…a 9:30 start with an 8 hour duration…that’s too much like a normal days work :-)

  • BarneyT

    “In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph, the body, which is a branch of the Royal Household, said flying the flag permanently meant the designated days — including the Queen’s birthday — lost their distinctiveness entirely.

    Its official advice appears to undermine unionist claims that their Britishness would be eroded if the flag is not flown every day.

    The Alliance Party claimed it vindicated their decision to support a vote limiting the flying of the flag at Belfast’s City Hall.

    Its group leader on Belfast City Council, Maire Hendron, said: “Not only does the Alliance Party’s position on designated days reflect the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland’s constitutional position and the fact that Belfast is a diverse community, but it is also in accordance with the views expressed by the College of Arms. ”

    “How can unionists claim designated days is an erosion of their Britishness in the face of such an inherently British institution?”

  • Pete Baker

    Adds In the Irish Times Gerry Moriarty notes

    …it was clear there had been no meeting of minds. The leaders were coming from opposing positions. Mr Robinson and Mr Nesbitt favoured a consultation on flags and emblems but it seemed apparent that this was resisted by Sinn Féin, the SDLP and Alliance.

    After the meeting the leaders, who would make no comment, issued a short statement that illustrated the inconclusive nature of the talks.

    Indeed.

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    Why are we still talking ‘party leaders’? I thought there was an Executive tasked with responsibility for the governing of Northern Ireland. Who is in charge then? Is it the five party leaders (three of whom are not part of the government including one who isn’t even an elected representative within the jurisdiction) or is it the Executive? What is the purpose of the Assembly or a multi-party Executive if we have to drag the party leaders up to Stormont Castle every time there is an incident?

  • emanonon

    Seems NI Tories don’t think too much of the the leaders meeting and they do have a point about a lack of urgency.

    http://www.niconservatives.com/news/result-leaders-talks-laughable-armstrong