Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP | Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Northern Ireland parties agree power-sharing deal
Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin agree to deal that avoids the need for an election.
Updated 1/10/20, 10:29 PM CET
LONDON — The Northern Ireland Assembly will sit Saturday for the first time in three years.
Northern Ireland’s main parties on Friday agreed to accept a deal proposed jointly by the U.K. and Irish governments.
The deal, published Thursday night, contained compromise solutions to disputes that contributed to the three-year break in power sharing, such as legislative provisions to protect the Irish language, action to reduce hospital waiting lists, and a pledge to increase the number of police officers.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party would support the deal after a meeting of the party’s ruling executive.
“We now have the basis to restore power sharing, and we’re up for that,” McDonald said. “There’s no doubt there are serious challenges ahead; the impact of Brexit, austerity and other pressing issues. But the biggest and most significant challenge will be ensuring we have genuine power sharing build on equality, respect and integrity.”
Her Democratic Unionist Party counterpart, Arlene Foster, called the deal “fair and balanced,” and said the assembly would sit on Saturday.
The previous Northern Irish executive, a coalition between the Democratic Union Party and Sinn Féin, collapsed in January 2017.
All sides had until Monday to restore power sharing or face an election,