What’s in the draft Stormont deal?

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What's in the draft Stormont deal?


Stormont's Parliament BuildingsImage copyright
Reuters

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The draft deal was presented at Stormont

Stormont parties are considering the details of a draft deal to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

The text, New Decade, New Approach, was published by the British and Irish governments on Thursday night.

It sets out a plan of action for a new executive and commitments from the two governments.

Here are some of the key points in the 62-page document:

Image copyright
PA

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The deal would bring about the parties’ commitment to ending ongoing industrial action by healthcare staff

Health

  • Executive will settle the ongoing pay dispute
  • A new action plan on waiting times
  • Reform the health and social care system in line with the Bengoa, Delivering Together and Power to People reports
  • An extra 900 nursing and midwifery undergraduate places over three years
  • A mental health action plan published within two months
  • Executive will fund three cycles of IVF treatment
  • New graduate entry medical school in Londonderry

Education

  • Executive will work to resolve the teachers’ industrial action
  • Ensure every school has a sustainable core budget
  • External independent review of education provision
  • New special educational needs framework
  • Expert group to examine links between educational underachievement and socio-economic background

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There have been calls for an Irish language act to be implemented in Northern Ireland

Petition of concern

  • The mechanism, which was designed to safeguard minority interests in the assembly, will return to its intended purpose
  • Parties commit to using it as a last resort
  • Petition can still be triggered by the support of 30 MLAs, but it needs members from two or more parties (this can include independent MLAs)

Language and tradition

  • An Office of Identity and Cultural Expression “to celebrate and support all aspects of Northern Ireland’s rich cultural and linguistic heritage”
  • New Commissioner “to recognise, support, protect and enhance the development of the Irish language in Northern Ireland”
  • New Commissioner “to enhance and develop the language, arts and literature associated with the Ulster Scots / Ulster British tradition”
  • Official recognition of both Irish and Ulster-Scots languages in Northern Ireland
  • Any person can conduct their business in Irish or Ulster-Scots before the Assembly or one of its committees

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The York Street Interchange is among the key infrastructure projects referenced in the draft deal

Infrastructure

  • Executive to benefit from increased capital infrastructure funding ‘as a result of the UK government’s infrastructure revolution’
  • Capital projects such as the A5 and A6 road projects, a new York Street Interchange, Narrow Water bridge and sewage investment could benefit

Anything else?

  • Increase police numbers to 7,500
  • New anti-poverty strategy
  • Extend existing welfare mitigation measures beyond March 2020, when they are due to expire
  • Party Leaders’ Forum established to meet at least once monthly. This will be reviewed after six months
  • Executive Brexit sub-committee established
  • Ad-hoc assembly committee to consider the creation of a Bill of Rights
  • Reaffirm commitment to tackle paramilitarism and sectarianism

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UK and Irish governments

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The governments say the deal ‘represents a fair and balanced basis upon which to restore the institutions’

UK government commitments

  • Additional funding in 2020/21 to help the executive address its priorities, such as pay parity for nurses compared to England and Wales
  • Promote Northern Ireland as a global cyber security hub
  • Funding for projects which could include mental health provision, tackling paramilitarism and deprivation
  • Appoint a Northern Ireland Veterans’ Commissioner and introduce UK-wide legislation to further incorporate the Armed Forces Covenant into law
  • Relatives of people from Northern Ireland to be able to apply for UK immigration status “on broadly the same terms as the family members of Irish citizens in the UK”

Irish government pledges

  • Delivering on its commitment to key infrastructure projects, including £75m for the A5 up to 2022
  • Take forward a review of potential support for “renewed viable air routes from Cork to Belfast and Dublin to Derry”
  • Irish government “is willing in principle to contribute to capital investment to support expanded provision at Ulster University Magee Campus”



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