Boris praises ‘mo­men­tous’ new North­ern Ire­land deal

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Brendan Car­lin and James Heale

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.’

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