Both the British and Irish governments have tabled a draft agreement to be put forward in an attempt to restore the devolved N.I. government.
Talks have been ongoing all week to try and resolve the stalemate between the DUP and Sinn Fein after the resignation of the late deputy First Minister, Martin McGuiness, led to the collapse of Stormont three years ago.
A NIO spokesperson has said:
“The deal, entitled New Decade, New Approach has been tabled at talks at Stormont House for the political parties in Northern Ireland to agree. It will transform public services and restore public confidence in devolved government.
“Agreement will see the full restoration of the institutions of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement including the Executive, the Assembly and the North/South Ministerial Council with the Assembly and Executive forming on Friday (10 January).
“Accepting the deal would also bring about the parties commitment to immediately end ongoing industrial action by healthcare staff. This includes pay parity, a new action plan on waiting times and delivering much needed reforms on health and social care.
“Reforms to the health service, education and justice will be prioritised by a new Executive, as well as important improvements in transparency and accountability, and in how civil servants, ministers and special advisers conduct themselves.”
If an agreement has not been reached by the deadline on Monday, civil servants will be legislated with extra powers and will trigger a new Assembly election.
Rt Hon Julian Smith MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said:
“I have written to the Speaker asking him to call the Assembly tomorrow to enable the restoration of the Executive.
“This is a moment of truth for the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. It is a fair and balanced deal that will ensure key decisions about peoples’ lives can be made.
“It immediately ends the health strike, focuses on reforms to health and social care, ensures more sustainable institutions, better politics and greater transparency and a new framework on language, arts and literature.
“I urge the parties to come together and to form an Executive in the best interests of NI.”
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, said:
“The Governments are today putting a proposed agreement to all the parties. This is based on the extensive discussions and collective work undertaken by the parties since May last year, following the awful murder of Lyra McKee.
“The Governments believe that it represents a fair and balanced package. There is no need, and no public patience, for more process and more discussions.
“It is time for political leadership and a collective commitment to making politics work for people.”
The key elements of the document are:
- Transforming Public Services and Investing in the Economy
- Better Politics and Sustainable Institutions
- Language and Identity
- Petition of Concern