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Northern Ireland Assembly reopens following three year hiatus

The Northern Ireland Assembly has officially reopened almost three years after its collapse. The absence of the Assembly was a cause of uncertainty in the political sphere of Northern Ireland.

The complex situation had left vital decisions regarding housing and welfare in the hands of the secretary of state for Northern Ireland. However, following the restoration, responsibilities regarding housing and welfare reform mitigations will return to the assembly.

At a recent sitting of the regional parliament, assembly members elected Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader, Arlene Foster to be first minister, Michelle O’Neill as deputy first minister, and Alex Maskey as the chamber’s speaker.

Following her acceptance of the post, Foster said that the past three years had involved too much “derision and division” and that it is now time for Northern Ireland to unite and begin moving forward again.

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, commented on the reopening of the Assembly: “As we begin a new decade, we can now look forward to a brighter future for all in Northern Ireland with an executive that can transform public services and improve people’s lives.”

“After three years without devolved government, an executive can now get on with the job of delivering much needed reforms.”

The new devolved assembly will include all five of the main parties. The DUP, Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance Party and the Ulster Unionists (UUP) all agreed to partake in the administration.