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The News Line: News ADAMS-PAISLEY DEAL – UK devolved local government for North by May 8 Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams yesterday agreed a May 8th date for the return of devolved local government in the north of Ireland, after his first ever one to one political meeting with DUP leader Ian Paisley.

Adams and Paisley sat next to each other at a press conference following their hour-long meeting in the dining room at Stormont’s Parliament Buildings.

Paisley said: ‘This meeting represents an important step on the road to the setting-up of a power-sharing executive in six weeks’ time.’

Adams said: ‘I want to begin my remarks by welcoming the statement by Ian Paisley.

‘While it is disappointing that the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement have not been restored today, I believe the agreement reached between Sinn Féin and the DUP, including the unequivocal commitment, made by their party Executive and reiterated today, to the restoration of political institutions on May 8th, marks the beginning of a new era of politics on this island.’

He added: ‘The relationships between the people of this island have been marred by centuries of discord, conflict, hurt and tragedy.’

He stressed that ‘Sinn Féin is about building a new relationship between orange and green and all the other colours’, adding: ‘There are still many challenges, many difficulties to be faced.

‘But let us be clear. The basis of the agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP follows Ian Paisley’s unequivocal and welcome commitment to support and participate fully in the political institutions on May 8th.’

Adams said that in ‘preparing for government’ that ‘as an immediate step both Sinn Féin and the DUP have asked the British government not to issue the water bills.’

He said he and Paisley ‘discussed, further engagements with the British Chancellor, with the Irish government, and with others to ensure that the incoming Executive has the best possible resources to fulfil our responsibilities.’

Adams said: ‘We have all come a very long way in the process of peace making and national reconciliation.’

He added: ‘I am pleased to say that collectively we have created the potential to build a new, harmonious and equitable relationship between nationalists and republicans and unionists, as well as the rest of the people of the island of Ireland.’

Afterwards, UK Northern Ireland Secretary Hain said the water bills would not be going out and it would be up to the devolved government to decide what to do about them.
 
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