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Tue, 22 September 2020

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Boris Johnson calls on Stormont to 'deliver for the people' after Assembly is restored

Boris Johnson calls on Stormont to 'deliver for the people' after Assembly is restored
3 min read

Boris Johnson has called on Northern Ireland’s restored government to “deliver for the people” after talks with leaders in Stormont. 

The Prime Minister and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met with First Minister Arlene Foster, from the DUP, and her Sinn Fein deputy, Michelle O’Neill, in a visit marking the revival of devolved government in the province for the first time in three years.

The rival parties agreed a deal on Friday to restore a power-sharing executive which previously collapsed in 2017 over a botched energy scheme.

“I just want to say how grateful I am to all the parties, everybody here in Northern Ireland for the way they have compromised the way they have worked together to get Stormont up and running again,” The Prime Minister said.

“It’s shown a willingness to trust each other and to set aside differences that I think is absolutely commendable and wonderful to see...Now is the chance for the government, the executive assembly of Northern Ireland to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland and to deliver on the priorities of the people.

“And that is above all improving people’s health care, making sure we have fantastic schools and making sure that our streets are safe.”

Mr Johnson also said there were discussions over funding with the leaders, as the Treasury is expected to commit £2 billion to improve public services in the region.

But speaking after talks, Mr Johnson shied away from numbers and said “it’s not just about money” but “leadership”.

When he was pressed further on forking out the multi-million-pound sum, he added: “We are making huge commitments to Northern Ireland”.

The PM also talked up the rise of the tech sector in the region and record-low unemployment making it a “place of fantastic potential”.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that we in the UK government will now work with this revived government in Northern Ireland to ensure that we deliver on that potential through better infrastructure...better education and of course technology,” he said,

“And using those three things to bring our whole UK together so that all four nations of the UK above all and Northern Ireland benefit from the prosperity and the growth we intend to deliver.”

Mr Johnson also made reference to former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s speech shortly before the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, telling reporters: “It’s a great moment, never mind the hand of history on my shoulder I see the hand of the future. 

“I see the hand of the future beckoning us all forward and I hope with good will and compromise and hard work on all sides it’ll be a very bright future indeed.” 

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