St Andrews Agreement

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The St Andrews Agreement (Irish: Comhaontú Chill Rímhinn; 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 Northern Ireland's political parties in relation to the devolution of power in the region. The agreement resulted from multi-party talks held in St Andrews in Fife, Scotland, from 11 to 13 October 2006, between the two governments and all the major parties in Northern Ireland, including the two largest, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin. It resulted in the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the formation (on 8 May 2007) of a new Northern Ireland Executive and a decision by Sinn Féin to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland, courts and rule of law.

The agreement

Key elements of the agreement included the full acceptance of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) by Sinn Féin, restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly and a commitment by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to power-sharing with Irish republicans in the Northern Ireland Executive. The governments' plan envisaged the devolution of policing and justice powers within two years from the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive. The parties were given until 10 November 2006 to respond to the draft agreement. The first and deputy first minister would be appointed on 24 November 2006. There was a target date of 26 March 2007 for a new executive to be up and running, after a general election on 7 March 2007.

The Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006, which implemented the agreement, received Royal Assent on 22 November 2006.

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