Dr Richard Haass - draft document

The draft document from the Richard Haass talks on dealing with Northern Ireland's past has been released.

The talks lasting 6 months were aimed at securing a long-sought resolution to outstanding peace process issues in Northern Ireland. Dr Haass was given until the end of 2013 to strike a deal on flags, disputed parades and the legacy of the Troubles, but was unable to attain consensus among Stormont's five main parties. Amongst the many sticking points, the document deals with areas covering new arrangements in dealing with parades, public events, culture and identity along with 'contending with the past'.

The seventh draft outlines the setting up of a new body to deal with the issue of parading, namely The Office for Parades, Select Commemorations, and Related Protests. The final draft says the new institution would serve a "strictly administrative function intended to efficiently facilitate the vast majority of parades and other events that are non-contentious”. A code of conduct for parades is also set out - in a similar vein to those already in place under the Parades Commission.

With the flying of flags having become an increasingly contentious issue once again in recent months, the final failed draft said parties reached "no agreement" on proposals regarding the flying of flags at government buildings and official sites.

There was agreement on the setting up of a commission to deal with a "conversation" about the role of "identity, culture, and traditions in the life of the citizens of Northern Ireland". The final draft said: "The primary function of the Commission on Identity, Culture, and Tradition will be to hold structured discussions in public throughout Northern Ireland on a wide variety of issues related to identity, culture, and tradition.

The most complex and far-reaching section of the Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan talks was the issue of dealing with Northern Ireland's troubled past. Aside from the already established Victims & Survivors Service, it proposes a Mental Trauma Service - in order to "attend to the substantial unmet need of victims in this area". The seventh draft also outlines the creation of another body to examine the past. That would include a Historical Investigations Unit - a new body with "additional powers above those currently held by the Historical Enquiries Team will provide a more effective service" for families who believe they have not received justice.