BELFAST (Reuters) - The leaders of Northern Ireland's Irish nationalist and British unionist communities clinched a deal to prevent its power-sharing administration from collapsing, the British and Irish governments said on Tuesday.
Mainly Catholic Irish nationalists and mainly Protestant unionists are obliged to share power under a 1998 peace deal that ended decades of violence, but disagreements have paralyzed lawmaking in recent years and the devolved local government was brought to the brink in September.
"This is a good day for Northern Ireland and a fresh start for devolved government. This agreement deals with the issues that have cast the greatest shadow over the future of the devolved institutions here," Britain's Northern Ireland Minister Theresa Villiers said in a statement.
(Reporting by Ian Graham, writing by Padraic Halpin in Dublin)