Police and justice powers are to be transferred from London to Belfast by April 12, ending a crisis that had threatened to topple the Northern Ireland Assembly. Sinn Fein has agreed the move with the Democratic Unionist Party.
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson said: “I don’t pretend that this agreement has been easy to reach, agreement did not come easily or quickly. It has been hard-fought on all sides. But it will be all the more secure for the time that has been invested in it.”
But, extremists on both sides of the political spectrum are unlikely to be satisfied with the agreement which is believed to include new rules on the policing of loyalist parades.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness said: “I believe that with determined and courageous leadership we must continue to lead that shrinking minority out of the trenches of the past. And I am confident we can be assured of the support of the vast majority of our people.”
All party talks have been underway for the last 10 days. Analysts believe the agreement can only strengthen the power-sharing relationship between Sinn Fein and Northern Ireland’s unionists.