Bertie Ahern: Talks are not enough, intense negotiations necessary to resolve powersharing in North

Bertie Ahern: Talks are not enough, intense negotiations necessary to resolve powersharing in North

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says talks are not enough, that intense negotiations are necessary to reach a resolution in powersharing talks in the North.

“They need to have all the parties together for a long period,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

He said it was sad that it had taken the tragic events of the past week to create the impetus for new talks. “It wouldn’t have happened except for the terrible killing and public reaction.”

Prior to the killing of Lyra McKee political parties had been telling him that they were not “getting pressure” for their base.

Talks are not enough, he added. Long, intensive negotiations, not just face-to-face, would be required so that issues could be teased out and challenged. Mr Ahern pointed out that the Good Friday Agreement negotiations went on for eight months.

“It’s not good enough for the parties to say they had talks last February and they fell down. That was a long time ago.

The difficulty in the North is that when you create a vacuum, that vacuum is filled by violence. People want peace and they want progress.

If there are going to be negotiations then there has to be an agreement in advance that they will last one week or two. “If they don’t do that they will get nowhere.

“There are no easy solutions, it will be tough going. I wish there was an easier way.”

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