Accessibility links

Breaking News

Britain, Ireland to Press Ahead with Northern Ireland Power-Sharing Plan


The British and Irish governments have vowed to press ahead with a plan to restore Northern Ireland's power-sharing administration despite another deadlock between the province's Protestant and Catholic leaders.

The two governments, in a joint statement issued Friday, said there was still a significant amount of work to be done in building political trust and supporting the Protestant-dominated police force.

It said securing these objectives remains the priority of both governments and pledged to proceed with full implementation of the agreement presented last month in Scotland.

That accord called for the Northern Ireland Assembly to elect representatives of the province's largest Protestant and Catholic parties to head a power-sharing administration by November 24.

The joint statement comes as the two main rivals in Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionists and the Catholic Sinn Fein, missed a deadline Friday to back plans for reviving the assembly. It was suspended in 2002 when Protestant Unionists accused the pro-Catholic Irish Republican Army of spying.

The Democratic Unionists said they are unwilling to accept Sinn Fein into a coalition administration unless it supports the police. Sinn Fein, however, says it cannot abandon its anti-police policy until the power-sharing administration is in place.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.