Northern Ireland

Peter Robinson to address DUP annual party conference

The DUP leader Peter Robinson will address his party's annual conference in County Down on Saturday.

Mr Robinson said he did not believe the attorney general's suggestion that Troubles-era prosecutions should end has damaged prospects for progress in the Haass talks.

He said they had strengthened the hand of those opposed to any amnesty.

The inter-party negotiations are trying to find consensus on the past, parades and flags.

The latest phase of talks chaired by the former US envoy Richard Haass finished on Friday in Belfast.

Dr Haass and his team will return in December for intensive discussions.

Earlier this week, the attorney general, John Larkin, suggested there should be an end to all prosecutions, inquiries and inquests for Troubles-related killings that took place before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Mr Larkin said his proposal was not a formal amnesty, but was a logical consequence of the Agreement.

The DUP conference got underway on Friday.

The party's deputy leader Nigel Dodds criticised Gerry Adams, accusing the Sinn Féin president of selective amnesia over the Disappeared.

Nelson McCausland expressed frustration about Sinn Féin's "procrastination" over welfare reform.

The social development minister talked about exploring the possibility of setting up a "People's Bank" to combat loan sharks and pay day loans.

Health Minister Edwin Poots promised to crack down on inappropriate use of the NHS by patients from the Republic of Ireland or further afield.

The DUP is the biggest party in Northern Ireland and the fourth largest at Westminster.

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