Northern Ireland breaks years of deadlock with new leaders | News | DW | 11.01.2020
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages
Advertisement

News

Northern Ireland breaks years of deadlock with new leaders

Northern Ireland has had its main parties at loggerheads since January 2017, but now that has come to an end. The DUP's Arlene Foster has been appointed first minister, with Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill as her deputy.

Northern Ireland appointed leaders of its two main political parties to head the country's power-sharing government on Saturday, bringing an end to a three-year standoff.

The Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have shared power for most of the years since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that underpins the country's peace process, but the power-sharing government broke down at the beginning of 2017.

DUP leader Arlene Foster was reappointed as first minister, the post she previously held, and was effusive about the new partnership ahead of today's meeting. "Today we will re-establish an executive after three years of stalemate," Foster tweeted. "It's time to get Northern Ireland moving forward again."

She added: "We won't solve every problem immediately but local ministers will get on with key reforms in schools and hospitals."

Sinn Fein: 'Defining moment'

Michelle O'Neill, leader of Sinn Fein, was appointed deputy first minister as part of the accord and told the assembly in Belfast: "This is a defining moment for politics here. Our mission must be to deliver on health, education and secure jobs for everyone across the whole community."

Naomi Long, leader of the centrist, nonsectarian Alliance Party, will be justice minister, and in a show of cross-party support, Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey was elected speaker with DUP backing.

Read more: Brexit deal: What could it mean for the Northern Irish and British economies?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the news. He said in a statement that the executive "can now get on with the job of delivering much needed reforms to the health service, education and justice."

Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, or Taoiseach, said the parties and politicians "are to be commended for their decision to put the people they represent first and make measured compromises to reach a deal."

New deal means no elections

Northern Ireland had been without a government since January 2017 when Sinn Fein withdrew from the power-sharing deal, claiming they were being treated unfairly.

Sinn Fein and the largest pro-British party, the DUP, had blamed each other for a number of failed attempts to find a solution to the impasse.

However, with a Monday deadline for an agreement drawing closer, a deal has now been agreed, fending off the possibility of fresh elections.

Watch video 04:56

Seaweed farmers in Northern Ireland

jsi/rc (dpa, Reuters, AP)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

DW recommends