Northern Ireland power-sharing deal agreed

DUP agrees deal with Sinn Fein over the devolution of policing and justice powers.

The DUP leader, Peter Robinson, has announced that his party has agreed a deal with Sinn Fein over the devolution of policing and justice powers to Northern Ireland. The breakthrough follows two weeks of intensive talks at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down, with both parties last month.

Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen, his Irish counterpart have arrived in Belfast and will jointly chair a plenary session this morning to formalise the deal.

"We have had a very constructive meeting of our assembly group and I had the opportunity to put to them proposals which we have been working on," said Robinson.

"Everyone present believes that this is consistent with our election manifesto and pledges we have made to the people. We look forward to going to Hillsborough and the document should be published."

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams welcomed the DUP's decision. He said: "I believe that the Assembly and political institutions can now proceed on the basis of equality, fairness and partnership. They also have to deliver for all citizens, that is the collective responsibility of all the political parties."

The Ulster Unionist Party has said it will not be attending this morning's meeting. It said as it was not party to the negotiations it wanted to take the time to consider what was in the deal.


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