Well it’s nearly over. After three months of talks and attempted deal Dr. Haass and Prof. O’Sullivan will end their talks on flags, parades and the past.
At the moment we are looking at an announcement of a deal or failure to agree at around midnight. It may well be the latter as Tracey Magee from UTV tweeted just a moment ago these comments from Jeffrey Donaldson
DUPs Jeffrey Donaldson says he’s not sure there is a basis for agreement. Leaving to brief his party he says there is some way to travel
— Tracey Magee (@Tracey_utv) December 30, 2013
This tweet from Gareth Gordon of the BBC gives a good insight into moving timetables that have been going on throughout the day
Update on Haass 7. Another source says parties have been asked for final thoughts and draft at 9.30. Confusion upon confusion
— Gareth Gordon (@BBCGarethG) December 30, 2013
At 7.38pm-Jamie Bryson tweeting that he is ‘Contented and pleased there will be no deal done and Haass will head on home.’
At 9pm-Protestant Coalition released a statement
Whilst there we were informed late this afternoon that deals had been agreed on Flags and Parades but regardiing the Past the shinners were holding out for a deal to be made where their border campaign would be scrubbed from the histo…ry books. Truthfully we cannot see the Unionist parties agreeing such a move as this would mean no convictions for the IRA murderers who cleansed the border of many good people over the years without justice being achieved for the victims and their families
10.25pm-It will be a very long night
@RichardHaass latest. Final text due to be delivered to parties at 11.30. Final plenary session scheduled for 1.30am.
— Deric Henderson (@dhendersonpa) December 30, 2013
11:10pm-Delays and still all to play for
The story of this process – set a deadline – then it disappears. 7th draft now overdue.One Talks sources says "deal still in the balance "
— Stephen Walker (@StepWalkTV) December 30, 2013
11:17pm-Something from Sinn Fein now
In the end-zone here but these late nights of sobriety as we fast approach 2014 is not necessarily the plan I had for celebrating New Year
— Gerry Kelly (@GerryKellyMLA) December 30, 2013
12:40am-A final draft of proposals has been delievered to the parties.
12:49am-Brian Rowan says the new draft includes list of conflict era themes to be examined
@RichardHaass draft 7 document includes list of conflict era patterns and themes to be examined. List had disappeared from previous draft.
— Brian Rowan (@BrianPJRowan) December 31, 2013
1:30am-Reports that there will be another hour of talks.
Result-Talks have ended without agreement. The deal has won broad support from Sinn Fein but there were still too many remaining areas of conflict for parties like the DUP.
So what did I learn tonight? Effectively nothing changed from 7pm-see Tracey Magee’s tweet for Unionists to agree a deal. Jamie Bryson was actually accurate as to how things would pan out and that I bone I asked to be thrown was more like brick to the head.
Is anybody to blame for the talks not working or was it just a farce to begin with?
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs