Paisley & Adams agree deal

Power-sharing in Northern Ireland will return on May 8 under an historic deal brokered by the Rev Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams at Stormont today.

 
 
The date was confirmed by the Democratic Unionist Party leader after the first face-to-face meeting between the two parties, lasting an hour, in the dining room at Stormont`s Parliament Buildings.

Tony Blair said of today`s Stormont meeting: “This is a very important day for the people of Northern Ireland but also for the people and the history of these islands.”

<!–
document.write(”);
//–>

Mr Blair added: “Everything we have done over the last ten years has been a preparation for this moment.”

Mr Paisley said: “This meeting represents an important step on the road to the setting-up of a power-sharing executive in six weeks` time.

Regular meetings will take place between the first minister and deputy first minister and there will be a programme of work set up between now and May 8, Dr Paisley said.

Sinn Fein and the DUP are to seek a meeting with Chancellor Gordon Brown to agree an economic package and they have asked Prime Minister Tony Blair to delay the introduction of water charges.

The North Antrim MP confirmed that between now and the date of the restoration of devolved government the Assembly parties would be involved in preparatory work to ensure that the power-sharing ministers would be able to hit the ground running.

This would include regular meetings between himself and Martin McGuinness as the de facto First and Deputy First Ministers.

Negotiations would also continue to secure a better financial package for the new power-sharing government from Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Sinn Fein president Mr Adams said the agreement between his party and the DUP marked the beginning of a new era of politics in Ireland.

“The discussions and agreement between our two parties showed the potential of what can now be achieved,” the West Belfast MP said.

He added: “Sinn Fein is about building a new relationship between orange and green and all the other colours where every citizen can share and have equality of ownership of a peaceful, prosperous and just future.

“There are still many difficulties to be faced but let it be clear – the basis of the agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP follows Ian Paisley`s unequivocal and welcome commitment to support and participate fully in the political institutions on May 8.”

Mr Adams also confirmed that, as an immediate step, the two parties had asked the British Government not to issue controversial water charges which were due to be posted tomorrow.

Mr Paisley said that, after a long and difficult time in the history of Northern Ireland, he believed there were enormous opportunities lying ahead for the province.

“Devolution has never been an end in itself, but is about making a positive difference to people`s lives,” he said.

“I want to make it clear that I am committed to delivering for not only those who voted for the DUP but for all the people of Northern Ireland.

“We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future for our children.

“In looking to that future, we must never forget those who have suffered during the dark period from which we are, please God, now emerging.”

Advertisements