Saturday, February 6, 2010

Belfast Made It Into the Wall Street Journal

I was browsing the WSJ and came across this article...

From The Wall Street Journal Roundup (February 5, 2010):

BELFAST-Northern Ireland's main Protestant party backed a compromise plan with the Catholic minority to transfer police and justice powers to Belfast from London a nd save their power-sharing government.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Peter Robinson, who leads the 2 1/2 year old coalition at the heart of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord, announced the breakthrough in the early hours of Friday. Terms of the deal would be announced later in the day, he said.

The DUP and its Catholic parter sinn Fein have been mired in a long-running dispute over delays in the transfer of justice power from the U.K. government to Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein sees the issue as crucial to the political process that was designed to end decades of sectarian violence.

Sinn Fein -- which precipitated the power-sharing crisis by threatening to withdraw from the coalition -- had already announced its backing for the plan. But the Democratic Unionists were divided over whether to cut a new deal with Sinn Fein.

Mr. Robinson said his party's lawmakers "have unanimously supported the way forward."

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams welcomed the Democratic Unionist approval, saying the deal would cledar the way form the crisis-prone coalition to "proceed on the basis of equality, fairness, and partnership."

The agreement charts a path for creating a new Justice Department in Belfast that will take control from Britain of the province's police and courts. The deal will give Northern Ireland its first justice minister and marks one of the boldest steps toward consolidating the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

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