The Northern Ireland Assembly has approved the final part of the devolution deal giving the province its first justice minister since the troubles erupted four decades ago.
Despite not everyone being in favour – the Ulster Unionists voted against – most saw the day as one of a coming together of the communities.
Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland’s First Minister told the Assembly: “I believe it is time for us all to move forward, there must be no going back to the bad old days of the past. Throughout history there are times of challenge and defining moments: this is such a time, this is such a moment. I know this motion is about the transfer of policing and justice functions. It puts back in place the powers that the founders of this state won for us almost 100 years ago.”
The division over the issue of policing had threatened to scupper the province’s power-sharing government.
Failure could have brought it down creating a political vacuum which it was feared could have led to an upsurge in violence. Dissident militants have recently shown their opposition to the entire peace process.
It is now believed that the vote will shore up the fragile stability ahead elections which are due next year.