After ten weeks of intensive cross party talks at Stormont House in 2015, the Northern Ireland executive and the UK and Irish governments have agreed a set of actions to address the two key themes the talks were convened to address: to secure the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement; and to deal with the impact of continued paramilitary activity.

A Fresh Start: Stormont Agreement & Implementation Plan

A Fresh Start builds on previous political agreements and brings closer the goal of a Northern Ireland where politics works, the economy grows and society is stronger.

On the Stormont House Agreement the agreed package will:

  • Help give the Executive a stable and sustainable budget, including additional UK Government financial support of around £500 million to assist the Executive in tackling issues unique to Northern Ireland, including support for their programme to remove peace walls;
  • Pave the way of the devolution of corporation tax powers which is expected to lead to a reduction to 12.5 per cent by April 2018;
  • Allow measures to address the issues of flags and parades to go ahead; and
  • Introduce institutional changes to make devolution work better including on the size of the Assembly, the number of departments, use of the petition of concern and provision for an official oppositionn

On paramilitary activity, the document strongly reaffirms support for the rule of law. Additional measures include:

  • Fresh obligations on Northern Ireland’s elected representatives to work together on their shared objective of ridding society of all forms of paramilitary activity and groups;
  • A concerted and enhanced effort to combat organised and cross border crime, which the UK government will help to fund.

Despite some significant progress a final agreement on the establishment of new bodies to deal with the past was not reached. The Government continues to support these provisions of the Stormont House Agreement and to providing better outcomes for victims and survivors. We will now reflect with the other participants on how we can move forward and achieve broad consensus for legislation.

For more information on the Fresh Start Agreement, click here.