Indian-origin: Rishi Sunak and Leo Varadkar, the Indian-origin prime ministers of the United Kingdom and Ireland, met on Monday to supervise a historic power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland, where a devolved government seized control after two years. Prime Minister Sunak and Taoiseach Varadkar met in Belfast’s Parliament Buildings, Stormont Castle, to celebrate efforts to restore Northern Ireland’s devolution. They also met with political leaders separately, including First Minister Michelle O’Neill and Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly, who lead the devolved region’s executive. Pengelly is a member of the DUP or Democratic Unionist Party.
Now it’s time to get to work, Sunak stated following his meetings. We’ve exerted considerable effort and achieved a significant milestone in preserving Northern Ireland’s position within the union. Building upon the foundation laid by the Windsor Framework, we’ve effectively ensured the seamless flow of trade throughout the UK. This not only secures stability but also allows us to fully leverage the opportunities presented by Brexit. Whereas Varadkar, born in Dublin, has family ties to Maharashtra, Sunak, born in Southampton, has origins in Punjab.
According to a transcript of the historic talks between the heads of the British and Irish Indian communities, Sunak started by congratulating the Irish rugby team on their convincing victory over France in the Six Nations match on Friday. This had been a difficult time, but patience had been the key to a deal. Now that the institutions were operational again, he hoped to see all three threads performing equally effectively. People in Northern Ireland expressed great relief and optimism, making it all worthwhile, according to a Downing Street statement.
Indian-origin UK and Irish prime ministers mark the resumption of power-sharing in Northern Ireland.
Both leaders agreed that a stable, effective, and successful Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom and has a border with Ireland, would greatly improve the UK-Irish relationship. As stated by Sunak, the financial package the British government has already promised to offer to any newly formed executive at Stormont is worth GBP 3.3 billion. Following months of talks between the government and the DUP in Northern Ireland, power-sharing was reinstated. In February 2022, it resigned from power-sharing in protest at the trade agreements reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) for Northern Ireland following Brexit.
The DUP’s leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, declared last week that his group had secured an agreement with Number 10 that will prevent “routine” inspections of goods being transported from the United Kingdom into Northern Ireland. On this basis, he declared, his party would retake power with legislation enacted in Westminster to bring about more reforms.
Taoiseach Varadkar wrote, Delighted to be here on an important day for Northern Ireland and to witness devolved democracy and the Good Friday Agreement operating once again,” in the visitors’ book at Parliament Buildings in Belfast. The Good Friday Agreement, signed in 1998 by then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern, with backing from then-US President Bill Clinton, brought an end to Northern Ireland’s 30-year conflict, known as the Troubles.