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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 October 2006, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Hain confident over NI government
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain
Peter Hain said Northern Ireland had been transformed
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has said he is confident Sinn Fein and the DUP will be together in government.

A roadmap to restore devolution to Northern Ireland has been revealed with a deadline of 26 March 2007 for a new executive after talks in St Andrews.

Speaking on BBC Five Live, Mr Hain described the talks as an "astonishing breakthrough".

However, Ian Paisley said the DUP would not sit in government with Sinn Fein until they had delivered on policing.

"Let no-one be deceived by statements from the secretary of state that there will be any move by myself or the DUP to enter into any government until Sinn Fein has delivered up front on policing," he said.

"What is more the final say on any of these arrangements will be with the people of Northern Ireland."

Mr Adams spoke during a republican commemoration rally
Mr Adams spoke during a republican commemoration rally

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said much work still needed to be done if the institutions were to be back up and running by next March.

Speaking during a republican commemoration rally in Belfast on Sunday, Mr Adams said his party would be consulting with the wider republican community to see if the proposals had the potential to resolve outstanding issues.

"So far, no-one has agreed to these proposals except the British prime minister and the taoiseach," he said.

"Issues of this importance, with such major implications, require careful study. They need comradely debate and thorough discussion."

Northern Ireland's parties have until 10 November to respond to the plan, and if they agree with it a first minister and deputy first minister would be nominated on 24 November.

It follows three days of multi-party talks in Scotland.

'Clear deadline'

Mr Hain said just 48 hours earlier people could not bring themselves to believe Mr Paisley and Martin McGuinness would sit together in government.

Mr Hain said: "What we now have in prospect is the nomination, as quickly as November 24, of Ian Paisley the DUP leader as first minister, and Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Fein deputy leader and former IRA member, as deputy first minister.

"I am confident we can get there because people know we are for real
Peter Hain

"That is an extraordinary thing that nobody expected to happen within a month or so.

"Then, following consulting the electorate either by referendum or by an election, the introduction of the establishment of sustainable self-government from March next year."

Mr Hain said Northern Ireland had been transformed and it looked as if its politicians were catching up with that transformation.

"I am confident we can get there because people know we are for real," he said.

"There could obviously be slips between now and then, who knows with Northern Ireland, you can never be certain what might come out of the woodwork.

"But one of the things that concentrated the politicians' minds was the very clear deadline that we set of 24 November."


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Peter Hain on the Northern Ireland talks



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Parties to respond within a month
14 Oct 06 |  Northern Ireland



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