Northern Ireland’s main political leaders have been talking money with the British government over the possible resumption of power-sharing in the province. The pro-Irish Sinn Fein and pro-British Democratic Unionists were the biggest winners in recent elections. Traditionally the parties are the bitterest of enemies but are poised to form a joint administration.
Britain’s treasury chief Gordon Brown is offering incentives: “I hope that we’re going to get a resolution of some of the financial problems which will create the basis for the resumption of the executive,” he said. Monday is the deadline the British and Irish governments have set for the two sides to agree on forming a government.
A number of outstanding issues remain, particularly for the majority DUP, which wants stronger commitments from Sinn Fein on supporting the police. Failure would mean continuing direct rule which could have heavy financial implications for those who voted for power-sharing.