New deal to be discussed on Friday could restore the power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly, after three years without parliament at Stormont. 

Northern Ireland's Stormont Assembly will meet on Friday following the agreement between Irish and British governments to restore Northern Ireland's power-sharing. 

This week, three years after the Northern Ireland Assembly collapsed, the two leading political parties Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party have been in talks.

Three years ago the resignation of the late deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, over the renewable heat incentive (RHI), known as "cash for ash", triggered the collapse of the institutions at Stormont. Several rounds of talks, until now, have failed to resolve the parties' differences. 

Ongoing nurse strikes in Northern Ireland had added pressure on Northern Ireland leaders to return to talks. On Wednesday thousands of nurses stood on picket lines, in dispute of pay and staffing shortages, NewsTalk reports.

Northern Ireland's Parliament buildings, located on Stormont estate.

Northern Ireland's Parliament buildings, located on Stormont estate.

Ireland's Tánaiste (deputy leader) and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, speaking to the press in Belfast, on Thursday said: "We have worked tirelessly through some extremely complicated issues."

Coveney urged "all political leaders and their teams to grab this opportunity and get back to work". He said the deal is "filled with compromises", which are fair and in the interests of the people of Northern Ireland.

He said, "The past three years have been difficult... we need to move on."

The United Kingdom Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Julian Smith, said: "there is something in this new deal for everyone".

He added "Earlier tonight, I spoke to the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson and he and I agreed that the document that we have published here tonight - the result of many months of hard work by the two governments - represents a fair and balanced deal for all the citizens of Northern Ireland.

"This deal means that the assembly here, can get back up and running tomorrow (Friday).

"It means that nurses, who have been on strike for the first time in 103 years can achieve pay parity.

"But more than this, it guarantees that the Good Friday Agreement, signed over 20 years ago, is protected and is respected."

Democratic Unionists Party leader Arlene Foster said the proposed deal represents a "fair and balanced way" to restore powersharing. She added it was "not a perfect deal".

Democratic Unionists Party leader Arlene Foster.

Democratic Unionists Party leader Arlene Foster.

Foster said "There are elements within it which we recognize are the product of long negotiations and represent compromise outcomes. There will always need to be give and take."

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said: "The governments have chosen to publish this text which we have received in the last hour.

"We are studying the text and will give it careful consideration.

"The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle will meet tomorrow to fully assess it."

Sinn Féin leaders Michelle O'Neill and Mary Lou MacDonald.

Sinn Féin leaders Michelle O'Neill and Mary Lou MacDonald.

In the past protections for the Irish language speakers and the reform of the contentious Stormont voting mechanism have been sticking points in negotiations, which kicked off just after the United Kingdom's general election (Dec 12). 

A new Office for Identity and Cultural Expression will be set up to promote cultural diversity and inclusion across all identities and cultures. Previously Sinn Féin had demanded a stand-alone Irish Language Act as must-have for an agreement. The DUP had expressed willingness but only if broader cultural laws were introduced to include the Ulster-Scots tradition. 

The new Office for Identity and Cultural Expression will work alongside a commissioner to protect and enhance the Irish language, and a further commissioner to develop the language, arts, and literature associated with the Ulster-Scots/Ulster British tradition in Northern Ireland.

H/T: Belfast Telegraph.