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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 November 2006, 09:41 GMT
DUP are 'in favour of agreement'
Bertie Ahern
Mr Ahern believes the majority of DUP members support the St Andrews Agreement
There is overwhelming support within the DUP for the implementation of the St Andrews Agreement, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has said.

Mr Ahern was speaking to reporters at the Fianna Fail party conference.

"I understand the DUP consultation process is 90 plus for (the St Andrews Agreement)," he said.

Later, during a speech at a Fianna Fail rally, he said his government's role in the peace process, along with the Irish economy, was its greatest achievement.

In his speech, he said the St Andrews Agreement would realise the potential for permanent peace.

He also announced that the final few border roads closed during the Troubles would be reopened.

Earlier, while speaking at the same conference, Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern told delegates that even if there was no return to devolution, the Irish government would pursue a policy of greater economic cooperation with Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland's parties have until 10 November to give their verdicts on the draft St Andrews Agreement.

The British and Irish governments have set a date of 26 March 2007 for a new executive to be up and running.

The chancellor, Gordon Brown, has promised 50bn to Northern Ireland over the next 10 years if power is devolved at Stormont.

The Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended on 14 October 2002 amid allegations of a republican spy ring at Stormont.

The court case that followed collapsed and one of those charged, Denis Donaldson, later admitted working as a British agent.

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and has been in place since.


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