St. Andrews Agreement

The chairman of the British Unionist Party, Robert McCartney, reportedly rejected the power-sharing agreements in the new agreement, which were deemed undemocratic. [3] The St Andrews Agreement (Irish: Comhaonté Chill R`mhinn; Ulster Scots: St Andra`s `Greement, St Andrew`s Greeance[1] or St Andrae`s Greeance[2]) is an agreement between the British and Irish governments and the political parties in Northern Ireland on the decentralisation of power in the region. The agreement was the result of multi-party discussions that took place from 11 to 13 October 2006 in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, between the two governments and all the major parties in Northern Ireland, including the two largest parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin. It led to the re-establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the formation (on 8 May 2007) of a new executive power in Northern Ireland and a decision by Sinn Féin to support the Northern Ireland Police Service, the courts and the rule of law. In the parliamentary elections, the DUP and Sinn Féin won both seats and thus consolidated their position as the two main parties in the Assembly. Peter Hain signed the order to restore the institutions on March 25 and warned that the meeting would be closed if the parties did not reach an agreement before midnight the next day. DuP and Sinn Féin members, led by Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams, met for the first time in person on 26 March and agreed to form an executive on 8 May, with the DUP firmly committing to entering government with Sinn Féin. Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern welcomed the agreement. On 27 March, the emergency law was presented to the British Parliament to facilitate the six-week delay. The St Andrews Agreement No 2 was passed without a vote in the House of Commons and the House of Lords and obtained royal approval, such as the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2007, that evening. The St Andrews Agreement also mentions the difficult issues on which the two major parties must agree to meet this timetable. Northern Ireland Minister Peter Hain called the deal an “amazing breakthrough” on BBC Five Live. A peace agreement negotiated between the British and Irish governments, as well as key political representatives, including Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin, and Ian Paisley of the Democratic Unionist Party.

The agreement aimed to revive the peace process in Northern Ireland, which was stalled until 2005, when the IRA completed the destruction of its weapons. It called for the takeover of Stormont and the establishment of a government in which Paisley would be the first prime minister to share power with Sinn Féin until 26 March 2007, after a referendum in Northern Ireland. In the weeks following the Agreement between Paisley and Adams, the four parties – DUP, Sinn Féin, UUP and SDLP – indicated their choice of ministries within the executive and appointed members to fill. The Assembly met on 8 May 2007 and elected Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness as Premier and Deputy Prime Minister. It also ratified the ten ministers appointed by their parties. On 12 May, Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle agreed to hold three seats on the police committee and appointed three MLAs to take. The joint statement of 13 October stated that the governments had “asked the parties, after hearing from their members, to confirm their agreement by 10 November”. In a statement, Sinn Féin said that “on 6 November, Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle instructed the party leadership to follow the course of action taken in St Andrews and to continue the ongoing negotiations to resolve the outstanding issues” and that they are “firmly convinced that all outstanding difficulties can be resolved.” According to the DUP statement, “As Sinn Féin is not yet ready to take the decisive step in police work, the DUP will not be obliged to engage on any aspect of power-sharing before that certainty.”