Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Reaction to news of deal

The executive will meet on Thursday for the first time in five months

Politicians and business leaders have been reacting to the news that a deal has been brokered to end the political deadlock in Northern Ireland.

The prime minister thanked the first and deputy first ministers for their "statesmanship".

"I believe that Northern Ireland will now send a signal of hope to the rest of the world that even the most difficult problems that cause the most hard negotiations and difficult times can be resolved," Gordon Brown said.

Secretary of State Shaun Woodward said the move was "historic".

"This is homegrown, it is something authored by the politicians of Northern Ireland. It will mark a maturing of the political process, and a maturing of democracy here which shows the politicians of Northern Ireland can assume control," he said.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan welcomed the news but said the details needed to be nailed down.

"We believe that a legislative assembly is not really worthy of the name unless it can take responsibility for criminal law," he said.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey welcomed the fact that the executive will meet on Thursday, but said the reason for the hiatus was the DUP and Sinn Féin.

"It is astonishing, though, to note that the DUP-Sinn Féin differences over policing and justice seem to be the sole issue which prevented the Executive from meeting. No other issue is mentioned in the documents released," he said.

"That being the case, why wasn't this issue sorted out between the DUP and Sinn Féin at their own separate meetings, which would have allowed the Executive to meet and agree a common approach to address the impact of the worst economic downturn since the 1920s?"

The Chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board welcomed the deal and said he had "no doubt that there will be a sense of relief right across the community" that the deadlock had been resolved.

The United States Special Envoy on Northern Ireland Paula Dobriansky praised the parties for finding agreement.

"These steps concern some of the most complex and emotive issues of the peace process, and we commend Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness for their political leadership," she said.

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said the executive needed to address pressing economic and social issues due to the global economic downturn.

"It is of great importance that devolution of policing and justice powers proceed. Its successful completion will be the final piece of the jigsaw of the peace process," he said.

The days of concessions to Sinn Fein are back - Allister

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister MEP said the DUP had "ticked Sinn Fein's boxes".

"So far from being over, the days of drip, drip concessions to Sinn Fein are back," he said.

The Alliance party called for extra meetings of the assembly now that the executive is to meet again.

Party leader David Ford said the first and deputy first ministers "must demonstrate they can make Northern Ireland work".

Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, said the executive should now "get down to helping with the many problems affecting the people of Northern Ireland".

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Deal brokered to end NI deadlock
18 Nov 08 |  Northern Ireland

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