Sinn Féin supports deal to restore devolution in Northern Ireland

Sinn Féin have said they will re-enter devolved government in Northern Ireland after three years of deadlock.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) had earlier also given tentative its support to a draft deal to restore Stormont’s political institutions.

The British and Irish governments published the draft proposals on Thursday, after nine months of talks.

Stormont’s power-sharing coalition, led by the DUP and Sinn Féin, collapsed in January 2017 over a green energy row.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said the party will nominate ministers to an executive.

She said her party was up for a return to “genuine power sharing”.

“I believe power sharing can work but that requires everyone to step up.”

“We need to have an inclusive executive.”

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State Julian Smith had asked the Stormont speaker, Robin Newton, to arrange an urgent meeting of the assembly for Friday.

However, on Friday morning, Mr Newton said the Northern Ireland Assembly will only be recalled if the political parties agree on a potential deal to restore power sharing.

Mary Lou McDonald did not comment on the timing the assembly could meet at.

She said there is also not yet a time or date for the executive to meet – but she wanted it to happen as soon as possible.

Mrs McDonald told Irish language activists to “take heart” in what had been agreed.

She said there was “official legal recognition of the Irish language for the first time, an Irish Language commissioner and increased Irish language funding”.

She said anybody who loves Irish and embraces diversity should regard the deal as positive: “this is about a society that makes room for everyone.”

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