The cross-partisan signatories of a ‘Fresh Start for Northern Ireland’ have secured an extra £500m in Government support to help the Executive sort out issues unique to Northern Ireland such as the removal of peace walls but the devolution of corporation tax has been kicked down the road by at least a year from April 2017 to April 2018.
The signatories of ‘A Fresh Start: the Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan’ say its an attempt to build on the Good Friday, St Andrew’s, Hillsborough and Stormont House agreements and to try at last to make politics work, the economy grow and society stronger.
According to the parties, members of the Executive and the UK and Irish Governments, the agreement will allow “measures to address the issues of flags and parades to go ahead” and it will also allow for a reduction in the size of the Assembly and the number of Departments.
It will also regulate the use of petitions of concern and pave the way for an official opposition.
On paramilitary activity the agreement includes “fresh obligations on Northern Ireland’s elected representatives to work together on their shared objective of ridding society of all forms of paramilitary activity and groups.”
The UK Government will also fund “a concerted effort to combat organised and cross border crime.”
There has been no agreement on the establishment of new bodies to deal with the past.
Those proposed in the Stormont House Agreement included a new Historical Investigations Unit (HIT), a new Independent Commission for Information Retrieval (ICIR), and a new Implementation and Reconciliation Group (IRG), were all survivors of the Haass proposals.
There is no commitment to an Irish Language Act.