Devolution restored as power-sharing resumes in Northern Ireland

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Power-sharing has resumed in Northern Ireland, with the DUP’s Arlene Foster elected first minister and Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill elected deputy first minister.

The Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont is now up and running again after the government collapsed three years ago.

Sinn Fein and the DUP restarted their mandatory coalition after talks this week managed to break the deadlock.

Both parties have backed a wide-ranging deal that includes compromise solutions on disputes such as the Irish language.

Peace process structures mean the assembly can only function with the inclusion of the largest unionist party and largest nationalist party.

Arlene Foster accepted that the general election had created 'momentum'
Image: Arlene Foster said it was time to get Northern Ireland ‘,oving forward again’

As well as the election of the first minister and deputy first minister, Saturday’s session will see the election of other ministers.

The region’s three other main parties – the SDLP, Ulster Unionists and Alliance – could also all end up taking seats in the government.

More from Northern Ireland

The last DUP/Sinn Fein-led coalition government collapsed in January 2017 following a row about a botched green energy scheme.

First minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster tweeted on Saturday morning: “Today we will re-establish an Executive after three years of stalemate.

“It’s time to Get Northern Ireland Moving Forward Again.

Sinn Fein Deputy leader Michelle O'Neill casting her vote in the 2019 General Election at Patrick's Primary School in Clonoe, Co. Tyrone.
Image: Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill is the deputy first minister

“We won’t solve every problem immediately but local Ministers will get on with key reforms in schools and hospitals.”

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said on Friday that the “New Decade, New Approach” agreement was only the beginning, predicting more gains for the Irish language would come in the future.

She urged those disappointed with the deal to “take heart from the fact that this is now an historic moment because for the first time we have official recognition”.

The UK government has promised major investment in Northern Ireland.

One of the most high-profile issues is an industrial dispute that has seen nurses strike three times in the last month over pay.

The deal also includes provisions to reduce hospital waiting lists, extend payments for people hit by welfare reforms, increase police officers on the beat, and resolve a dispute involving teachers.

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Northern Ireland: Devolution formally restored as power-sharing resumes at Stormont

Power-sharing has resumed in Northern Ireland, with the DUP’s Arlene Foster elected first minister and Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill elected deputy first minister. The Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont is now up and running again after the government collapsed three years ago.

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