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Alliance Leader, Lord Alderdice, Deputy Leader, Seamus Close and former Leader, Oliver Napier, have travelled to Hillsborough this evening to meet the Prime Minister.

On leaving Castle Buildings, the Alliance Leader said:

“I was pleased that the Prime Minister responded positively to our request that he travel urgently to Northern Ireland. The paper presented early this morning was a step backwards rather than forwards in our search for a settlement. The Prime Minister’s decision to come to the Talks has opened the possibility that an agreement could be reached.

“The Governments, and parties to the Talks, must realise that if they push too far in any agreement it will not work. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of 1974 and 1985 again. History has shown that even if Party Leaders, in the pressure of negotiations, sign up to an agreement, such agreements can collapse under pressure.

“The Prime Minister must learn from the mistakes of the past and help us to reach a realistic agreement by Thursday.”

NOTES:

Oliver Napier, former Alliance Leader was one of the four signatories to the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement which established a power-sharing Assembly in Belfast in 1974. This Agreement subsequently collapsed in the face of unionist pressure.