Paul Givan becomes first minister in Northern Ireland

The local government survived in Northern Ireland on Thursday as two power-sharing parties agreed on the thorny issue of Irish language legislation.

Paul Givan, 39, of the Democratic Unionist Party has become Northern Ireland’s youngest first minister ever, while Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neil resumed her position as deputy first minister.

The nominations came after a deal was reached between the sides after a week of uncertainty and disagreement over an Irish language deal, with Arlene Foster stepping down from the first minister post.

Edwin Poots, the DUP’s new leader, has been criticized by his party for ceding too much to Sinn Fein.

Britain’s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis announced that a compromise had been reached over the introduction of Irish language legislation.

Lewis said that if the Northern Ireland executive cannot initiate the legislation process by the end of September, it will be introduced in the UK parliament in London this October instead.

“Following my intensive negotiations with the parties over the last few days, today I can confirm that if the executive has not progressed legislation by the end of September, the UK government will take the legislation through parliament. If that becomes necessary, we will introduce legislation in October,” Lewis said.

Sinn Fein had asked the UK government to step in and move the legislation in the House of Commons in London instead.

“Tonight we have broken through all of that. Irish speakers have been waiting for 15 years for basic rights and recognition to be delivered,” Sinn Fein’s leader Mary Lou McDonald said, hailing the deal.

Source: Anadolu Agency