the St Andrews Agreement (Irish: Comhaontú Chill Rímhinn; Ulster Scots: St Andra`s Greement, St Andrew`s Greeance or St Andrae`s Greeance) is an agreement between the British and Irish governments and the political parties of Northern Ireland regarding the devolution of power in the region. The agreement culminated in multi-party talks that took place from 11 to 13 October 2006 in St Andrews in Fife, Scotland, between the two governments and all major parties in Northern Ireland, including the two largest, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin. This led to the re-establishment 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 Northern Ireland Police Service, the courts and the rule of law. The Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006, which implemented the agreement, was passed on 22 November 2006 with royal approval. In the weeks following the agreement between Paisley and Adams, the four parties – the DUP, Sinn Féin, UUP and SDLP – chose the ministries within the executive and appointed members to occupy them. The Assembly met on May 8, 2007 and elected Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. It also ratified the ten ministers as appointed by their parties. On 12 May, Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle agreed to take three seats on the Police Board and appointed three MLAs to take them over. Reg Empey, chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party, described the deal as a “Belfast deal for slow learners”.
Key elements of the deal included sinn Féin`s full acceptance of the Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI), the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Democratic Unionist Party`s (DUP) commitment to share power with Irish Republicans in the Northern Ireland executive. The government`s plan called for the devolution of police and judicial powers within two years of the re-establishment of the Northern Ireland executive. The parties had until 10 November 2006 to respond to the draft agreement. The First and Deputy Prime Minister would be appointed on November 24, 2006. After the parliamentary elections of 7 March 2007, a new executive was planned for the elections of 26 March 2007. Northern Ireland Minister Peter Hain called the deal on BBC Radio Five Live an “astonishing breakthrough”. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said that if the deadlines set by the two governments were not met, “the plan will be shaken and there will be a step towards plan B without further discussion.” Democratic Unionist Party Chairman Ian Paisley said: “Unionists can have confidence in promoting their interests and winning democracy.” He also said: “The implementation of the central issue of police work and the rule of law begins now.” Gerry Adams, CEO of Sinn Féin, said the plans need to be consulted, but restoring political institutions is a “huge price”. . . .