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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 February, 2005, 13:04 GMT
Castle talks bill almost 250,000
Leeds Castle in Kent is the venue for this week's talks
Leeds Castle in Kent was the picturesque venue for the talks
Three days of talks aimed at restoring devolved government in Northern Ireland last September cost 250,000.

The Northern Ireland Office outlined the cost of hire, transport and accommodation to the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Irish Government said it paid 115,360.04, towards staging the event.

The NIO could not provide details of security costs. At the time Kent police said the security operation was one of the biggest they had ever undertaken.

The slight difference in the figures provided by the British and Irish sides is because the British sum includes accommodation of Northern Ireland Office officials.

The sum provided by the Irish Government does not include hotel costs for their civil servants.

The Leeds Castle talks ended without a deal being reached with the sticking points at that time being DUP demands for changes to the Agreement and the running of Stormont, particularly the issue of accountability of ministers.

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The talks were seen as the most important since the negotiations leading up to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

They were aimed at resolving issues surrounding the deadlock over the IRA's continued existence and power-sharing at Stormont.

The British and Irish prime ministers were working to break down differences between the two main participants, Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein led by Gerry Adams.

The agenda at Leeds Castle included issues such as the continued existence of the IRA, decommissioning, policing and undertakings from unionists to make the institutions work.

The political institutions in Northern Ireland were suspended in October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern Ireland Office.




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