2014 Christmas Talk Process in Northern Ireland

So here we go again in 2014 with yet another talk's process in Northern Ireland. Most countries in the world look forward to peace and Christmas around this time of the year. However, in N.Ireland we have yet ANOTHER talk's process, this time involving all the main parties at Stormont and the British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Along with Theresa Villiers, who is the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, they have been supposed to have been talking together now for several weeks. This time last year it was the Haas talks when it was hoped he could convince the parties to agree on the future. This year the talks have been called by Villiers to try and get the budget agreed.

Sinn Fein remained opposed to introducing any form of Conservative (Tory) Welfare policies where as none of the other parties like these reforms, but argue that they have managed to make enough changes to make these reforms palatable to the N.Ireland public.

We remain stuck once again with all of the parties unable to make any types of agreement on flags, parades, budgets, dealing with the past or reform of the current government institutions.

The week beginning the 15th December 2014 is really the last week the politicians have to try and get some agreements in place. If that can happen then there is some chance that the devolved government can continue on. Failure in these talks however, which is highly probably, could once again lead to Stormont and the Assembly collapsing, and Direct British rule returning to the streets of Northern Ireland

Other Related Talks

A few months back voters in Scotland decided to stay as part of the UK. They did however mainly on the promise that they would get more devolved powers to their parliament in Scotland. Wales have also been looking more powers and as such the leaders of all the associated countries that make up the UK met on Monday 15th December 2014.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness represented N.Ireland at those talks and were again pushing for more money to allow them to get Northern Ireland through to the next budget. Cameron had agreed, according to all reports, to put £1 billion into the pot, but the N.Ireland Assembly had stated that was not enough.

Stormont House Agreement

The parties did agree a way forward to the surprise of many people. It is at best a rather loose agreement but at least they found a way of moving things forward. In essence N.Ireland relies very heavily on the Public Sector and all of the politicians know that they need to shift this dependence more to the Private Sector. As such the British Government agreed in principle to reduce Corporation Tax. The downside of that is that the parties had to agree to allow up to 20,000 civil servant jobs to be removed on a voluntary redundancy basis.