A new poll shows that 75 percent of the people of Northern Ireland back the proposed changes in policing powers agreed by the two major parties in government, Sinn Fein and the DUP, after a recent marathon negotiating session at Hillsborough.

Under the terms of the deal, a new Department of Justice will be established in Northern Ireland, allowing security and legal issues to be dealt within Northern Ireland and not from London,

The huge percentage is larger than the one than backed the original Good Friday Agreement, which was at 71 per cent.

The overwhelming support will come as a shock for the Ulster Unionist Party, who opposes the deal as signed. The poll showed that 73 percent of their voters say the deal should go ahead.

However, UUP party leader Sir Reg Empey has turned away requests to change his party’s stance, including a phone call from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The UUP claims the Stormont government should deal with education reforms before it can be trusted with security powers. However, observers say Empey is trying to run from the right against the DUP in the upcoming elections.