January 10, 2020
Northern Ireland’s devolved government is set to return to work – more than three years after it collapsed over the country’s “Cash for Ash” scandal. 
Northern Irelands Government To Return Three Years After It Collapsed
On Friday, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald revealed the party had backed a deal to restore power-sharing at the Northern Irish parliament in Stormont. 
She said: “The Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle has met today and has taken the decision to re-enter the power-sharing institutions and to nominate ministers to the power-sharing executive.
“We believe that the changes which have been achieved in the negotiations over the last year build on what was agreed in February 2019.”
It comes after the Democratic Unionist Party signalled its support for the deal, with Arlene Foster – the party’s leader – saying it was “ready to go back into the Assembly”.
Peace process structures mean the executive can only function with the inclusion of the largest unionist party – currently the DUP – and largest nationalist party in the region – Sinn Fein. The wide-ranging deal – which was published by the UK and Irish governments on Thursday night – contains compromise solutions to the vexed disputes at the heart of the 36-month power-sharing impasse, such as legislative provisions for Irish language speakers.
It also includes what the UK government has insisted will be a major treasury-funded financial package to tackle a host of acute problems facing a public sector that has been floundering amid the governance vacuum.
That includes a high-profile industrial dispute in the health service which on Friday saw nurses again walk out on strike.
Under the terms of the deal, the new executive will also take action to reduce spiralling hospital waiting lists; extend mitigation payments for benefit claimants hit by welfare reforms; increase the number of police officers on the beat; and resolve an industrial dispute involving teachers.
The last DUP/Sinn Fein-led coalition government collapsed in January 2017 over a row about a botched green energy scheme. 
Later branded the “Cash for Ash” scandal, it was supposed to pay people a subsidy towards the cost of buying wood pellets to burn for fuel rather than dirtier materials such as coal. 
However, people were paid more than it actually cost to buy the pellets. 
That row subsequently widened to take in more traditional wrangles on matters such as the Irish language and the thorny legacy of the Troubles.Want to know more? Read: The Slightly Bonkers Reason Northern Ireland’s Government Has Done Nothing In Three YearsThis is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.Related... The Slightly Bonkers Reason Northern Ireland's Government Has Done Nothing In Three Years
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