Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Deal brokered to end NI deadlock

N Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward: 'Politics has triumphed once again'

The DUP and Sinn Féin have come to an agreement on the devolution of policing and justice powers designed to bring a 152-day deadlock at Stormont to an end.

Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers have set out a series of steps to be taken before policing and justice can be devolved.

The executive will meet on Thursday, 20 November, and on a weekly basis until business is up-to-date, they said.

There is no timetable, but both parties are committed to completing the process

Under a special clause, temporary arrangements for electing a justice minister will be replaced by permanent rules by May 2012.

Speaking at a news conference at Stormont, First Minister Peter Robinson said there had been "a satisfactory resolution of the most difficult issues".

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said "significant progress" had been made.

Both ministers said they wanted devolution to happen "without undue delay".

"We are both agreed that policing and justice functions should be devolved, every leading politician in this community is committed to this outcome," Mr McGuinness said.

Confidence

"The agreement we have reached represents a very satisfactory resolution of the most difficult issues relating to the modalities of transferring power and meets all of the publicly expressed concerns," Mr Robinson said.

Mr Robinson said a meeting could take place if agreement was reached
Mr Robinson said difficult issues had been resolved

"We believe these arrangements are capable of gaining the confidence of the community and we look to the prime minister to make good his commitment of helping to resolve the financial arrangements relating to the devolution of these powers."

The DUP and Sinn Féin had been at odds over when the assembly should take these powers.

A new attorney general is to be appointed for Northern Ireland under the agreement.

Currently, the attorney general for England and Wales also holds the post for Northern Ireland.

The two ministers have announced they are "minded to invite" John Larkin QC to take the post.

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