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UK: Johnson praises N. Irish parties on new government

UK: Johnson praises N. Irish parties on new government

Britain’s central government is ready to work with the newly restored Northern Ireland government, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

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Britain’s central government is ready to work with the newly restored Northern Ireland government, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

Visiting Belfast following the formation of the new power-sharing government in Stormont three years after it collapsed, Johnson met First Minister Arlene Foster and her deputy Michelle O’Neill.

“I just want to say how grateful I am to all the parties, to everybody here in Northern Ireland, for the way they have compromised the way they have worked together to get Stormont up and running once again,” Johnson told a press conference following the meeting with the new executive.

“It’s shown a willingness to trust each other and to set aside differences and I think it’s absolutely commendable and wonderful to see,” he said.

He said: “What’s so great about today is that Northern Ireland politicians have put aside their differences, stepped up to the plate, and shown leadership.

“And that is a fine thing and the right thing and they will be able now to develop what is a very, very promising set of circumstances for Northern Ireland and for its people.”

He said the “UK government will now work with this revived government in Northern Ireland to ensure that we deliver on that potential.”

Johnson said he hoped “with good will and compromise and hard work on all sides it will be a very bright future indeed."


Years in limbo

Northern Ireland’s biggest two parties agreed Friday on a deal to form the country’s new devolved government.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein formed the new Executive after jointly agreeing to a deal offered by the governments of the U.K. and Ireland.

Since the March 2017 legislative assembly election, Irish nationalists of the Sinn Fein party and pro-British unionists under the DUP have been unable to find common ground on divisive issues such as the introduction of an Irish language act and legacy issues inherited from decades of violence popularly known as “The Troubles.”

The previous local administration collapsed in January 2017 with the resignation of Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness over a botched energy saving deal. McGuinness, a former IRA leader, died shortly after and was given a state funeral.

The DUP lost support in the March 2017 election, but managed to remain the biggest party with a single-seat margin in the Northern Ireland Assembly over Sinn Fein.

But the DUP performed strongly in a U.K. general election in June 2017. In an unprecedented political move, it became a vital source of support for then-British Prime Minister Theresa May after she lost the majority in the House of Commons.

Talks between Northern Ireland parties have continued on and off since the January 2017 election but failed to produce any positive outcome amid Brexit uncertainties.

In last December's U.K. elections, both the DUP and Sinn Fein lost political ground slightly after their votes dropped by more than 5% each, but they remained the two major parties.

source: aa


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