Joint Strategy for the Restoration of the Assembly and Executive

  • Country/entity

    Ireland
    United Kingdom
    Northern Ireland
  • Region

    Europe and Eurasia
    Europe and Eurasia
    Europe and Eurasia
  • Agreement name

    Joint Strategy for the Restoration of the Assembly and Executive
  • Date

    6 Apr 2006
  • Agreement status

    Multiparty signed/agreed
  • Interim arrangement

    Yes
  • Agreement/conflict level

    Interstate/intrastate conflict(s) ()
  • Stage

    Implementation/renegotiation
  • Conflict nature

    Government/territory
  • Peace process

    Northern Ireland peace process
  • Parties

    Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister)
  • Third parties

    -
  • Description

    Joint Statement by the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach setting out proposals for the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Executive, which includes recalling the Assembly on May 15 2006, and shadow executive nominated.


Groups

  • Children/youth

    No specific mention.

  • Disabled persons

    No specific mention.

  • Elderly/age

    No specific mention.

  • Migrant workers

    No specific mention.

  • Racial/ethnic/national group

    No specific mention.

  • Religious groups

    No specific mention.

  • Indigenous people

    No specific mention.

  • Other groups

    No specific mention.

  • Refugees/displaced persons

    No specific mention.

  • Social class

    No specific mention.


Gender

  • Women, girls and gender

    No specific mention.

  • Men and boys

    No specific mention.

  • LGBTI

    No specific mention.

  • Family

    No specific mention.


State definition

  • Nature of state (general)

    No specific mention.

  • State configuration

    No specific mention.

  • Self determination

    No specific mention.

  • Referendum

    No specific mention.

  • State symbols

    No specific mention.

  • Independence/secession

    No specific mention.

  • Accession/unification

    No specific mention.

  • Border delimitation

    No specific mention.

  • Cross-border provision
    Page 2, 10.
    If restoration of the Assembly and Executive has to be deferred, the Governments agree that this will have immediate implications for their joint stewardship of the process. We are beginning detailed work on British-Irish partnership arrangements that will be necessary in these circumstances to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement, which is the indispensable framework for relations on and between these islands, is actively developed across its structures and functions. This work will be shaped by the commitment of both Governments to a step-change in advancing North-South co-operation and action for the benefit of all.

Governance

  • Political institutions (new or reformed)
    Governance→Political institutions (new or reformed)→General references
    [Summary: The agreement in its entirety provides for recalling the Northern Irish Assembly and establishing a power-sharing executive. See 'Executive Coalition' for full provisions.]

    Page 1, 4.
    The Assembly will therefore be recalled on 15 May. Recognising that it has not sat for nearly four years, it seems sensible to give the Assembly a short period in which to prepare for government as envisaged by paragraph 35 of Strand One of the Good Friday Agreement. The Assembly's primary responsibility would be to elect a First and Deputy First Minister as soon as possible, to allocate Ministerial posts under the d'Hondt formula and to make other preparations for Government within Northern Ireland and in the North/South and East/West fields.
  • Elections
    Page 2, 9.
    While it is reasonable to give the Assembly a little more time, there must be a clear limit. We said in January that a power-sharing Executive must be formed this year. If by 24 November the Assembly has failed to achieve this, we do not believe that any purpose would be served by a further election at that point or a few months later in May 2007. We do not think that the people of Northern Ireland should be asked to participate in elections to a deadlocked Assembly. There would be no choice but to cancel salaries and allowances for MLAs and to defer restoration of the Assembly and Executive until there is a clear political willingness to exercise devolved power. The Governments would, of course, stand ready to facilitate full restoration when all parties indicate such willingness.
  • Electoral commission

    No specific mention.

  • Political parties reform

    No specific mention.

  • Civil society

    No specific mention.

  • Traditional/religious leaders

    No specific mention.

  • Public administration
    Page 2, 8.
    It would of course also be open to the Assembly to prepare for Government by considering issues which the Executive will have to deal with, such as future economic strategy, water rates, public administration and education. Ministers would naturally take account of views which command cross-community support within the Assembly.
  • Constitution

    No specific mention.


Power sharing

  • Political power sharing
    Power sharing→Political power sharing→Executive coalition
    Sub-state level
    Page 1, 4.
    The Assembly will therefore be recalled on 15 May. Recognising that it has not sat for nearly four years, it seems sensible to give the Assembly a short period in which to prepare for government as envisaged by paragraph 35 of Strand One of the Good Friday Agreement. The Assembly's primary responsibility would be to elect a First and Deputy First Minister as soon as possible, to allocate Ministerial posts under the d'Hondt formula and to make other preparations for Government within Northern Ireland and in the North/South and East/West fields.

    Page 1, 5.
    As soon as the Assembly elects a First and Deputy First Minister on a cross-community basis and forms an Executive, power will automatically be devolved to the Assembly, as happened in December 1999, and all its functions will be resumed. At that point the British Government's power to suspend the Assembly will lapse for good.

    Page 1, 6.
    If, despite best efforts, the Assembly is not able to elect a First and Deputy First Minister on a cross-community basis within the normal six week period, we would be prepared to allow a further period of 12 weeks after the summer recess in which to form an Executive and we would expect it to do so at the earliest opportunity within this timeframe.

    Page 1-2, 7.
    We are also conscious that all parties have made proposals for the better functioning of the institutions and that discussion on these issues has not yet concluded. It would be open to the parties to continue these discussions with each other and with the Governments, as appropriate, so that consideration could be given to proposals for the implementation of the Agreement, including changes to Strands 1 to 3 in the context of a commitment by all involved to participate in a power-sharing Executive.

    Page 2, 8.
    It would of course also be open to the Assembly to prepare for Government by considering issues which the Executive will have to deal with, such as future economic strategy, water rates, public administration and education. Ministers would naturally take account of views which command cross-community support within the Assembly.

    Page 2, 9.
    While it is reasonable to give the Assembly a little more time, there must be a clear limit. We said in January that a power-sharing Executive must be formed this year. If by 24 November the Assembly has failed to achieve this, we do not believe that any purpose would be served by a further election at that point or a few months later in May 2007. We do not think that the people of Northern Ireland should be asked to participate in elections to a deadlocked Assembly. There would be no choice but to cancel salaries and allowances for MLAs and to defer restoration of the Assembly and Executive until there is a clear political willingness to exercise devolved power. The Governments would, of course, stand ready to facilitate full restoration when all parties indicate such willingness.
    Power sharing→Political power sharing→Proportionality in legislature
    Sub-state level
    Summary: Assembly is tasked with establishing the executive, see above.
  • Territorial power sharing

    No specific mention.

  • Economic power sharing

    No specific mention.

  • Military power sharing

    No specific mention.


Human rights and equality

  • Human rights/RoL general

    No specific mention.

  • Bill of rights/similar

    No specific mention.

  • Treaty incorporation

    No specific mention.

  • Civil and political rights

    No specific mention.

  • Socio-economic rights

    No specific mention.


Rights related issues

  • Citizenship

    No specific mention.

  • Democracy

    No specific mention.

  • Detention procedures

    No specific mention.

  • Media and communication

    No specific mention.

  • Mobility/access

    No specific mention.

  • Protection measures

    No specific mention.

  • Other

    No specific mention.


Rights institutions

  • NHRI

    No specific mention.

  • Regional or international human rights institutions

    No specific mention.


Justice sector reform

  • Criminal justice and emergency law
    Justice sector reform→Criminal justice and emergency law→Reform to specific laws
    Page 2, 11.
    The British Government will introduce emergency legislation to facilitate this way forward. It will set out clearly the limited timescale available to the Assembly to reach agreement...
  • State of emergency provisions

    No specific mention.

  • Judiciary and courts

    No specific mention.

  • Prisons and detention

    No specific mention.

  • Traditional Laws

    No specific mention.


Socio-economic reconstruction

  • Development or socio-economic reconstruction
    Socio-economic reconstruction→Development or socio-economic reconstruction→Socio-economic development
    Page 2, 8.
    It would of course also be open to the Assembly to prepare for Government by considering issues which the Executive will have to deal with, such as future economic strategy, water rates, public administration and education. Ministers would naturally take account of views which command cross-community support within the Assembly.
  • National economic plan

    No specific mention.

  • Natural resources

    No specific mention.

  • International funds

    No specific mention.

  • Business

    No specific mention.

  • Taxation
    Socio-economic reconstruction→Taxation→Reform of taxation
    Page 2, 8.
    It would of course also be open to the Assembly to prepare for Government by considering issues which the Executive will have to deal with, such as future economic strategy, water rates, public administration and education. Ministers would naturally take account of views which command cross-community support within the Assembly.
  • Banks

    No specific mention.


Land, property and environment

  • Land reform/rights

    No specific mention.

  • Pastoralist/nomadism rights

    No specific mention.

  • Cultural heritage

    No specific mention.

  • Environment

    No specific mention.

  • Water or riparian rights or access

    No specific mention.


Security sector

  • Security Guarantees

    No specific mention.

  • Ceasefire

    No specific mention.

  • Police
    Page 1, 2.
    ...We have also made it clear that all parties should support the police as the most effective way of addressing continuing concerns about criminality.
  • Armed forces

    No specific mention.

  • DDR

    No specific mention.

  • Intelligence services

    No specific mention.

  • Parastatal/rebel and opposition group forces
    Page 1, 2.
    When we last met, we noted the historic progress represented by the IRA statement of July 2005. We are convinced that the IRA no longer represents a terrorist threat. By any standards, that is a momentous stage in the history of Northern Ireland. On that basis, we have made it clear that all parties should engage in political dialogue. We have also made it clear that all parties should support the police as the most effective way of addressing continuing concerns about criminality.
  • Withdrawal of foreign forces

    No specific mention.

  • Corruption

    No specific mention.

  • Crime/organised crime

    No specific mention.

  • Drugs

    No specific mention.

  • Terrorism
    Page 1, 2.
    When we last met, we noted the historic progress represented by the IRA statement of July 2005. We are convinced that the IRA no longer represents a terrorist threat. By any standards, that is a momentous stage in the history of Northern Ireland. On that basis, we have made it clear that all parties should engage in political dialogue. We have also made it clear that all parties should support the police as the most effective way of addressing continuing concerns about criminality.

Transitional justice

  • Transitional justice general

    No specific mention.

  • Amnesty/pardon

    No specific mention.

  • Courts

    No specific mention.

  • Mechanism

    No specific mention.

  • Prisoner release

    No specific mention.

  • Vetting

    No specific mention.

  • Victims

    No specific mention.

  • Missing persons

    No specific mention.

  • Reparations

    No specific mention.

  • Reconciliation

    No specific mention.


Implementation

  • UN signatory

    No specific mention.

  • Other international signatory

    No specific mention.

  • Referendum for agreement

    No specific mention.

  • International mission/force/similar

    No specific mention.

  • Enforcement mechanism
    Page 2, 9.
    While it is reasonable to give the Assembly a little more time, there must be a clear limit. We said in January that a power-sharing Executive must be formed this year. If by 24 November the Assembly has failed to achieve this, we do not believe that any purpose would be served by a further election at that point or a few months later in May 2007. We do not think that the people of Northern Ireland should be asked to participate in elections to a deadlocked Assembly. There would be no choice but to cancel salaries and allowances for MLAs and to defer restoration of the Assembly and Executive until there is a clear political willingness to exercise devolved power. The Governments would, of course, stand ready to facilitate full restoration when all parties indicate such willingness.

    Page 2, 10.
    If restoration of the Assembly and Executive has to be deferred, the Governments agree that this will have immediate implications for their joint stewardship of the process. We are beginning detailed work on British-Irish partnership arrangements that will be necessary in these circumstances to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement, which is the indispensable framework for relations on and between these islands, is actively developed across its structures and functions. This work will be shaped by the commitment of both Governments to a step-change in advancing North-South co-operation and action for the benefit of all.

    Page 2, 11.
    The British Government will introduce emergency legislation to facilitate this way forward. It will set out clearly the limited timescale available to the Assembly to reach agreement. In parallel with the recalling of the Assembly, we will engage intensively with the parties to establish the trust necessary to allow the institutions not only to function but to flourish. There is a great deal of work to be done. The Governments will do all in their power to restore the institutions and return devolved Government to those elected by the people of Northern Ireland. But the final decisions are for the parties. We hope they will seize the opportunity to move forward.
  • Related cases

    No specific mention.

  • Source
    Irish Dept of Foreign Affairs

Joint Statement by Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, and Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), on the recalling of the Assembly, Armagh, (6 April 2006)

"1. In recent months we have held discussions with all the political parties in Northern Ireland with a view to restoring the political institutions and building on the peace and prosperity which have flowed from the Good Friday Agreement.

2. When we last met, we noted the historic progress represented by the IRA statement of July 2005.

We are convinced that the IRA no longer represents a terrorist threat.

By any standards, that is a momentous stage in the history of Northern Ireland.

On that basis, we have made it clear that all parties should engage in political dialogue.

We have also made it clear that all parties should support the police as the most effective way of addressing continuing concerns about criminality.

3. We cannot force anyone to enter the political institutions.

Every part of the political process over the past eight years has been voluntary.

What we can do is to set out what we believe to be a practical framework and a reasonable timescale for moving forward.

While we are conscious of the view that further confidence needs to be established, we also know that time alone is not enough:

trust will not build itself in the absence of positive engagement by all parties.

Everyone in Northern Ireland is aware of the dangers of a political vacuum.

4. The Assembly will therefore be recalled on 15 May.

Recognising that it has not sat for nearly four years, it seems sensible to give the Assembly a short period in which to prepare for government as envisaged by paragraph 35 of Strand One of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Assembly's primary responsibility would be to elect a First and Deputy First Minister as soon as possible, to allocate Ministerial posts under the d'Hondt formula and to make other preparations for Government within Northern Ireland and in the North/South and East/West fields.

5. As soon as the Assembly elects a First and Deputy First Minister on a cross-community basis and forms an Executive, power will automatically be devolved to the Assembly, as happened in December 1999, and all its functions will be resumed.

At that point the British Government's power to suspend the Assembly will lapse for good.

6. If, despite best efforts, the Assembly is not able to elect a First and Deputy First Minister on a cross-community basis within the normal six week period, we would be prepared to allow a further period of 12 weeks after the summer recess in which to form an Executive and we would expect it to do so at the earliest opportunity within this timeframe.

7. We are also conscious that all parties have made proposals for the better functioning of the institutions and that discussion on these issues has not yet concluded.

It would be open to the parties to continue these discussions with each other and with the Governments, as appropriate, so that consideration could be given to proposals for the implementation of the Agreement, including changes to Strands 1 to 3 in the context of a commitment by all involved to participate in a power-sharing Executive.

8. It would of course also be open to the Assembly to prepare for Government by considering issues which the Executive will have to deal with, such as future economic strategy, water rates, public administration and education.

Ministers would naturally take account of views which command cross-community support within the Assembly.

9. While it is reasonable to give the Assembly a little more time, there must be a clear limit.

We said in January that a power-sharing Executive must be formed this year.

If by 24 November the Assembly has failed to achieve this, we do not believe that any purpose would be served by a further election at that point or a few months later in May 2007.

We do not think that the people of Northern Ireland should be asked to participate in elections to a deadlocked Assembly.

There would be no choice but to cancel salaries and allowances for MLAs and to defer restoration of

the Assembly and Executive until there is a clear political willingness to exercise devolved power.

The Governments would, of course, stand ready to facilitate full restoration when all parties indicate such willingness.

10. If restoration of the Assembly and Executive has to be deferred, the Governments agree that this will have immediate implications for their joint stewardship of the process.

We are beginning detailed work on British-Irish partnership arrangements that will be necessary in these circumstances to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement, which is the indispensable framework for relations on and between these islands, is actively developed across its structures and functions.

This work will be shaped by the commitment of both Governments to a step-change in advancing North-South co-operation and action for the benefit of all.

11. The British Government will introduce emergency legislation to facilitate this way forward.

It will set out clearly the limited timescale available to the Assembly to reach agreement.

In parallel with the recalling of the Assembly, we will engage intensively with the parties to establish the trust necessary to allow the institutions not only to function but to flourish.

There is a great deal of work to be done.

The Governments will do all in their power to restore the institutions and return devolved Government to those elected by the people of Northern Ireland.

But the final decisions are for the parties.

We hope they will seize the opportunity to move forward."