Northern Ireland Launches Historic Power Share

Power-sharing government ends decades of sectarian violence
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2007 8:58 AM CDT
Deputy leader of the IRA-linked Sinn Fein Martin McGuinness, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and leader of the Democratic Unionist...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Protestant and Catholic leaders pledged to cooperate as Northern Ireland inaugurated a power-sharing government today, ending a deadly decades-long conflict. Protestant leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness will serve as first minister and deputy first minister, respectively. Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams hailed "a new era of politics on this island."

Thousands have died in the sectarian violence that has plagued Northern Ireland for decades. The new arrangement may be seen as the greatest achievement of British PM Tony Blair, who is expected to step down this week. While the new government will handle the nitty-gritty of running the province, the British Parliament will still make policy decisions.