British Prime Minster Gordon Brown pledged between £800 million ($1,323 million) and £I billion ($1.6 billion) Wednesday to fund the devolution of justice and policing powers in Northern Ireland.

Outlining details of the package in the House of Commons, Brown said:  "Our aim is a peaceful, more secure and more prosperous Northern Ireland."

Brown also promised that there would be a reserve of funding should "extra security" be needed.

After receiving the good news, Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinnes met with Conservative leader David Cameron, who assured both men that his party would honor the finding should the Tories win next year's General Election.

Robinson had been concerned that this might not be the case, but Cameron's words on Wednesday seemed to assuage these fears.

After meeting Cameron, McGuinness was optimistic that the process could go ahead without delay.

“We should now move with all speed on the devolution of policing and justice powers,” McGuinness is quoted in the Irish Times. “I believe this devolution can happen before Christmas.”

Though devolution was the main topic on the agenda in the meeting between McGuinness and Cameron, it was also an historic one in its own right, as Cameron became the first Tory leader to meet a senior Republican figure since Austin Chamberlain met the Irish delegation that was sent to negotiate a peace treaty in 1921.