Since December 2, 99 Northern Ireland has been granted home rule, i.e. it is no longer governed directly from London.
After the Ulster Unionist Council under its leader David Trimble had agreed to a power-sharing government with the
Gerry Adams' Sinn Fein party, a devolved executive committee was formed last Thursday. This cabinet consists of
10 ministers, among who will be two members of Sinn Fein (Martin McGuinness and Bairbre de Brun), although the IRA has
not begun decommissioning their weapons. They will be expected to do so by February next year and if they don't deliver,
the Good Friday Agreement will be considered as a failure and at least David Trimble will resign, if not the whole cabinet.
But for the time being the executive committee will have three ministers each from the Ulster Unionists and the Catholic
SDLP and two each from Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Gerry Adam's Sinn Fein.
It remains to be seen if Martin Mc Guinness' and Gerry Adams' influence on the IRA is so strong that they will begin
handing over their weapons. Martin McGuinness is believed by security sources to sit on the IRA's Army Council.