Home / Lead News / DUP deal aimed at restoring power sharing in Northern Ireland is published

DUP deal aimed at restoring power sharing in Northern Ireland is published

Details of a deal between the UK government and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to restore devolution in Northern Ireland have been published.

The DUP has been boycotting Stormont’s power-sharing government for two years in protest at post-Brexit trade rules.

The deal will reduce checks and paperwork on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The changes apply to GB goods which are staying in NI and will mean no routine checks on those goods.

Those changes involve the maximum flexibility allowed under a previous EU/UK deal it is understood will be acceptable to the EU.

On Tuesday, the UK and EU Joint reached agreement to make changes to that deal to allow NI to benefit from UK Free Trade Agreements.

The DUP had demanded changes to the way goods are traded between Northern Ireland and Great Britain in order for it to end its Stormont stand-off.

On Monday night, the DUP’s 120-strong executive agreed to endorse the deal.

The government will also introduce two pieces of legislation to guarantee Northern Ireland goods can be sold in Great Britain in all circumstances and to affirm Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme on Wednesday, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said that while former prime minister Boris Johnson “promised us a lot of things, he didn’t deliver them”.

“Rishi Sunak has worked with us, the secretary of state has worked with us, the team from Downing Street has worked with us to make these changes,” he said.
‘Significant steps’

The prime minister has hailed the “significant steps” taken by the DUP to agree the deal.

Opening Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mr Sunak thanked the DUP for its efforts, and said the other parties had shown patience over the past two years.

He said there was now the prospect of getting power sharing back up and running, “strengthening our union and giving people the local, accountable government they need”.

The prime minister added this would offer a “brighter future for Northern Ireland”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also described it as an “important moment” and that all sides needed to work together to kickstart devolution.

Meanwhile, the main Stormont parties are meeting Tánaiste (Irish deputy prime minister) Micheál Martin in Belfast on Wednesday.

Mr Martin added the Irish government has “no issue with streamlining and making sure that there’s a seamless passage of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.

Northern Ireland’s Brexit deal, the Windsor Framework, keeps it inside the EU’s single market for goods.

That prevented a post-Brexit trade border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

However, it has meant the introduction of checks and controls on goods from Great Britain.