Several prominent Irish American politicians have offered their reactions as power-sharing is set to return to Northern Ireland for the first time since 2022.

Northern Ireland has been without a functioning government for nearly two years after Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) withdrew then-First Minister Paul Givan as a matter of protest of post-Brexit trade agreements.

In a late-night press conference last night, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the head of the DUP, said that his party has agreed to a package of measures, paving the way for the long-awaited restoration of Stormont

The move has been welcomed by Sinn Féin, who is poised to hold the First Minister position for the first time, as well as Northern Ireland's Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris, who last week introduced legislation extending the deadline for the Northern Ireland Executive to reform from January 18 to February 8.

The decision was also welcomed by Ireland's Tánaiste Micheál Martin, who said it "good news for the people of Northern Ireland, and the Good Friday Agreement."

On Tuesday morning, Claire Cronin, the US Ambassador to Ireland, welcomed last night's decision, stating that the people of Northern Ireland "are best served by a power-sharing government."

The Ambassador noted that President Biden "has long made clear his support for a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland."

I welcome last night’s decision by the DUP. The people of Northern Ireland are best served by a power-sharing government in Stormont as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement. @POTUS has long made clear his support for a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all…

— Ambassador Claire Cronin (@USAmbIreland) January 30, 2024

Congressman Richard Neal, the chair of the bipartisan Friends of Ireland Caucus in US Congress, said: "With the restoration of power-sharing on the horizon, the people are the winners."

When the US helped broker the Good Friday Agreement, it was to ensure that all communities had a voice in the pursuit of peace and prosperity.

With the restoration of power-sharing on the horizon, the people are the winners. Their voices will be heard once again.

— Rep. Richard Neal (@RepRichardNeal) January 30, 2024

Congressman Brendan Boyle, also a member of the Friends of Ireland Caucus and the son of a Donegal native, said in a statement: “I welcome today’s promising news that the Northern Ireland Assembly will finally be restored.

"For 23 months, the people of Northern Ireland have been unfairly left without proper representation.

"Today's progress is yet one more positive result of the Good Friday Agreement, one that provides a shared foundation for peace and prosperity for the future.”

Elsewhere, former Congressman Bruce Morrison (D-CT), co-chair of the US-based Ad Hoc Committee to Protect the Good Friday Agreement, said on Tuesday: “The Ad Hoc Committee welcomes the DUP decision to return to Stormont.

"The devolved assembly is a key part of the Good Friday Agreement, and it must function at all times to be effective.

"We hope that this is the beginning of a successful period of Stormont governance through which the challenges faced by the people of Northern Ireland will be constructively addressed.” 

Morrison was joined by former Congressman Jim Walsh (R-NY), co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee, in praising the decision to stand up the Northern Ireland Executive: “We are more than pleased for the people of Northern Ireland that Stormont is to be restored.

"Restoring the Executive should be the first step in fully implementing all the strands of the Good Friday Agreement / Belfast Agreement.

"We will be meeting with the House of Commons Committee on Northern Ireland next week and we look forward to meeting with the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Christopher Heaton-Harris again who has been tenacious in getting the deal done.” 

Notably, the US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, Joseph Kennedy III, has not yet issued a statement regarding the development. When asked for comment on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the US State Department told IrishCentral: "We welcome the news that important steps have been taken toward the full restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive at Stormont.

"We note that legislation still needs to be published before restoration is final, but look forward to the full restoration of Stormont consistent with the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the Windsor Framework. 

"A power-sharing government will help protect the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and preserve peace, stability, and prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland."