In January 2017, the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, tendered his resignation from the Northern Ireland Executive, citing issues around equality, trust and abuse of power on the part of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Following 3 years of institutional hiatus, during which civil servants assuming greater responsibilities ultimately prevented a return to direct rule, talks between the 5 main political parties, with a focus on negotiations between Sinn Féin and the DUP, recommenced following the Westminster General Election in December 2019. With the support of the Irish and UK Governments throughout the process, and a commitment to this being maintained thereafter, the text of an agreed document named ‘New Decade, New Approach’ was released to the general public on 9th January 2020.
This briefing presents an overview of the agreement reached and examines key aspects of its content, focusing on the elements addressing governance and identity.
The full paper is available to download below: