During topical questions to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, Peter Robinson provided an update on the Haass talks and what expectations we should have. Mr Robinson stressed that he did not want to “put any undue pressure on Richard Haass and his team by raising expectations”, highlighting that the current areas of difficulty are the same long-standing issues that have yet to find a resolution. When pressed on how Dr Haass’ own proposals would be received in the event of deadlock, the First Minister argued that little would be gained from such proposals as, for anything to “stick in Northern Ireland, it is necessary for agreement among the parties”.
On commencement of the scheduled Oral Questions, the First Minister then provided the House with a comprehensive update on his recent investment trip to New York with the deputy First Minister. He revealed that the visit was not only an important opportunity to develop new relationships with potential investors but also provided the chance to strengthen existing ones. The trip proved invaluable for building a network of contacts for potential business in the future.
Junior Minister, Jonathan Bell, also updated the Assembly on resources allocated to victims and survivors. He assured that “we are absolutely dedicated to ensuring that victims and survivors get the best help that we can provide” and that increased funding has allowed individuals to get a package of assistance tailored to their particular needs.