Boris praises ‘momentous’ new Northern Ireland deal
BORIS JOHNSON hailed the return of power-sharing government to Northern Ireland yesterday as ‘momentous’.
The Prime Minister raised hopes that the end to three years of political deadlock could now lead to a ‘brighter future for all in Northern Ireland’.
He was speaking after Sinn Fein and the DUP formally re-entered devolved government in the province, with DUP leader Arlene Foster resuming the First Minister role she lost three years ago when the last administration collapsed.
Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill became Deputy First Minister.
Northern Ireland’s government collapsed in January 2017 over a row about a botched green energy scheme which widened to bitter disagreements over the Irish language and the thorny legacy of the Troubles.
But in a breakthrough last week, the two parties signed up to a deal brokered by the British and Irish governments.
Mr Johnson, who along with Irish premier Leo Varadkar is expected to visit Northern Ireland this week, said: ‘This is a momentous day. We can now look forward to a brighter future for all in Northern Ireland, with an Executive that can transform public services and improve people’s lives.
‘The parties of Northern Ireland have shown great leadership in coming together to accept this fair and balanced deal in the interests of everyone.’
He heaped praise on Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith, potentially putting to bed rumours that he will be sacked in a Cabinet reshuffle.
Bill Clinton, who as US President played a key role in the talks which ended the Troubles, last night tweeted: ‘I remain hopeful Brexit will respect the Good Friday accords and the sacrifice and vision of so many people.’