The British government will today rush through legislation to prevent the closure of Northern Ireland’s assembly after yesterday’s historic agreement by pro-Irish and pro-British parties to share power. A commitment from both sides to begin governing together in early May was enough to convince London to extend its deadline on making a deal.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was the culmination of 10 years of peacemaking. Sentiments echoed by his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern: “It’s up to the parties to work together to make this work. And obviously we’ll help them in what ever way we can. We have already been involved in the economic package and we’ll be involved in other issues as well in the intervening period.”
The assembly was set up under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The peace process, which so frequently broke down in the following years, now appears to be coming to its intended conclusion.