DUP account of Talks – not stacking up – By Eamonn Mallie and Brian Rowan

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Today this website publishes incontrovertible proof that DUP leader Arlene Foster gave Sinn Féin vice President Michelle O’Neill a ‘hard’ copy of the ‘Draft Agreement Text’ on the evening of February 9.

The proof is found in an email chain – specifically in a communication at 19:52 on same evening between Philip Weir of the DUP and Stephen McGlade Head of Ms O’Neill’s office.

This is the key paragraph from said email:



Those small tweaks are in the electronic copy of the document this website published on February 20.

In a BBC interview on Thursday night with Mark Carruthers, the deputy leader of the DUP Nigel Dodds was asked to answer a question posed by Eamonn Mallie – had Arlene Foster handed Michelle O’Neill a ‘hard’ copy of the Draft Agreement Text on Friday February 9?

“Certainly that is news to me. I have no knowledge of that whatsoever,”

Mr Dodds responded.

“I don’t think that’s the case,” he continued.

“I would be highly surprised if that happened.”

The Weir email to McGlade is confirmation that the above did happen.

The two copies – hard and electronic – represent the text of an Accommodation Sinn Féin believed it had reached with the DUP, an understanding shared by the British and Irish governments that weekend.

This was precisely why Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar were at Stormont on Monday February 12.

Here is how one senior DUP elected representative assessed the state of play on that weekend “there was to be agreement on ‘presentation’ not to hurt the document.”

He shared this exposition two days after the DUP leader collapsed the negotiation against a backdrop of outrage at reports of the content of the emerging deal, including an Irish Language Act.

The DUP public representative quoted above had earlier told this website that there had been “no preparation for a climb down [on Irish language]” – an issue he described as “toxic”.

Even though there were to be three acts – Irish, Ulster Scots and Respecting Language and Diversity – another senior DUP politician still viewed them as separate elements, and believed any attempt to argue otherwise “wouldn’t survive five seconds on Nolan.”

“Then the cover-up gets you – not the content,” he added.

The above comments suggest the negotiators were out of step with the wider party and community mood.

By now there was a tsunami of phone calls and emails reaching DUP MLAs and MPs expressing grave concern about what was being reported by the Media. The confirmation that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar would be joining Theresa May at Stormont on Monday February 12 only served to further aggravate a restive Unionist community.

By February 14 any hope of a deal was dead. The DUP had retreated from the Draft Agreement Text. Senior party figures have appeared anything but surefooted in their description of that text since.

On Friday March 2nd, one Talks insider told this website that the February 9 text was the DUP’s latest version of the negotiation document: “That’s their version of the document – their shape of the Draft Agreement.”

He described square brackets in the Draft Agreement Text as “presentational” – for Sinn Féin’s “amendment or Agreement.”

What else were Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill discussing believing they had put the Draft Agreement Text to bed on February 9 when they came together and the Sinn Féin vice President took possession of the DUP’s latest text?

Dublin, NIO and other Stormont sources say by now the talking had turned to money – what in negotiation parlance is called ‘the financial ask.’

This was in essence now the topic of discussion face to face between Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill. This conversation had by now moved beyond the political package at which the two parties had arrived.

A senior Irish government source told this website he was in no doubt as he left Stormont on February 9 that an Accommodation had been reached between the two big parties.

This website has also been assured by a number of sources that supporting documentation exists to confirm a commitment made to Sinn Féin by the NIO on legacy matters in the context of an overall agreement.

This would include a consultation on the legacy structures agreed at Stormont House in 2014, removing the controversial issue of a statute of limitations from that consultation and releasing funds for legacy inquests.

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  1. After his interview with Nigel Dodds, Mark Carruthers asked the commentators on The View what they thought.

    A distinct change of body language was the general agreement, from questions before the ‘9 February’ one to how he responded to that. Actions speaking louder than words.

    And just how are the DUP going to spin this? And who will see them as reliable in future?

  2. Jollyman1689 on

    The PUL Community will never accept a situation whereby the Main Terrorist Organistation throughout the Troubles (PIRA) are literally free of any blame or not accountable to justice whilst British Soldiers are Dragged through the courts. Equality means that if Soldiers are going to be dragged through the Courts then Provos are too – or none at All!

    No side deals or arrangements made without the knowledge or agreement of the population of NI is valid. By the same token, NO Stand Alone Irish Language Act will be allowed to be rammed through by Politicians in NI without the agreement of the Population of NI.

    ULSTER Scots is NOT even a Language! Its a broken Glaswegian regional dialect. NI does not need minority language Acts taking Millions of Pounds away from The NHS and Education. If I want to learn a minority language – I have to pay to attend a course run by a local college. In the 2011 Census, less than 6000 people indicated a knowledge or use of Gaelic – 6000 out of 1.5 Million!

    These Politicians have had over a year to get over Martin McGuinness’s death and also a further Assembly Election. They have remained on full pay and expenses whilst civil servants have had to take decisions well above their pay grade. They should all be sacked, direct Rule implemented until such time as our own Politicians grasp the real issues facing us today instead of refusing to work because of some tot for that wishlist. Time for talking is over – either get back to work or GO! It’s that simple.

    • Fake News as Trump would say:

      The Irish language (also known as Irish Gaelic) (Irish: Gaeilge) is a recognised minority language in Northern Ireland. The dialect spoken there is known as Ulster Irish. Protection for the Irish language in Northern Ireland stems largely from the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.[1]

      According to the 2011 UK Census, in Northern Ireland 184,898 (10.65%) claim to have some knowledge of Irish, of whom 104,943 (6.05%) can speak the language to varying degrees. Some 4,130 people (0.2%) use Irish as their main home language.[2]

      • Megan O'hare on

        Irish is indeed a wonderful language, I speak it exclusively at home with all my family, we’re from Kilkeel, not a place you’d expect to have Irish speakers but the numbers are growing year by year.

        • Thóg mé sin ó Wikipedia. Déarfainn go bhfuil na figiúirí fiú níos airde ná sin bíodh is go mbíonn sé riachtanach stáidéar a dhéanamh ar an Ghaeilge go dtí an tríú bliain sa chuid is mó de na meánscoileanna Caitliceacha sa tuaisceart. Agus os cionn 6000 ag freastal ar na Gaelscoileanna fosta

          I took that from Wikipedia and I would say the the figures are even higher than that since Irish is a compulsory subject up to third year in most Catholic secondary schools in the north. Also there are over 6000 children attending Irish medium schools in the north.

  3. None and i mean None of these politicians have the north of Irelands best interest at heart, they have sold out their peoples time and time again, its now about what interest it is in to their pockets #bunchoftheifs

  4. Ross van Putten on

    I don`t know the truth of what happened but what I do know is that the above email proves very little. It is interesting that these so called details seemed to have been drip fed rot Mark Caruthers and he has sought to bully his DUP interviewees on one occasion he insulted their leader when he said “your dear leader”. This all comes across as a smear campaign.

  5. It seems quite obvious that the DUP’s lead negotiators did agree a draft deal, but had to back track when they realised it would not be sanctioned by the wider party.
    The unionist community feels threatened. Their historical power base is gone and it seems that some would rather drag the whole edifice down than accept the reality of the world having changed around them. It’s 2018, but sectarian reasoning still dominates the mind set of many. However rational Arlene and Co may wish to be, they are closely tied to that reactionary background and, despite their often repeated claims to the contrary, they are consequently not allowed to act in the interests of the people as a whole.

  6. I’m not a DUP supporter but it’s quite obvious that the arrogance of Sinn Fein and their cohorts scuppered any deal. They were constantly upping their demands within an Irish Language Act and fed this to the Nolan show which spooked unionists and this led to the DUP having to walk away from any potential deal. Blame Sinn Fein and Co as I’m not sure they wanted any deal as they do not want NI to work at all.
    This is just a total smear campaign against the DUP and I’m sad to see Mallie and Rowan drip feeding this particularly to Carruthers.
    This is not journalism guys grow up all you are doing is dividing our community even more.

      • So I’m not black, does that mean I am? Do you want to throw a false accusation at me and call me names before I offer an opinion? It’s these sort of childish behaviours that have our country in this current mess.

  7. Jake Mac Siacais on

    The deal which SF were prepared to sign up to would have stretched their constituency to the limit. The tripartite Act had an Irish language element which was weak in the extreme. The DUP inability to sell even this slight advance is proof yet again that this place is an unworkable basket case.

  8. Martin Miller on

    Hard to see how any future talks can be done in full confidence when there are leaks left, right and centre. Lots of mutual bad blood out there.

  9. Some folks need to realise that the end game has started. Political parties need to brief their people on future direction. One side are fully aligned on this. Arlene is not. Don’t hand in your homework until you check on this minor milestone it is not hard.

  10. Michael Forde on

    The Unionists/ Ulster Scots have held the Gaelic Irish to ransom since Plantation days.

    Their power is steadily waning.
    They really hate the English you know.

    Irish unification is on the horizon.

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