My Lords, like other noble Lords I welcome the Statement. The Minister has come to this House on a number of occasions with negativity on Northern Ireland. This is a very positive Statement, and I and my party see it as a new beginning for Northern Ireland. After three years we now have a working Assembly and in particular an Executive made up of the five main parties in Northern Ireland. We have Ministers elected by the people of Northern Ireland and accountable to them, which is vital.
Yes, this Executive will face many challenges; there are huge challenges out there, but I have no doubt that they will face them with good will, whether in health, education, economic development or investment. I have no doubt whatever that they will do what they can to represent all the people of Northern Ireland. This Executive can show a lead to the people of Northern Ireland on how both communities in every community can live in peace and harmony. That is what this Executive need to be about.
I welcome the funding coming with the package. I know there may be some questions as to whether it is new money or from the Barnett formula or whatever, but it must be welcome. I also welcome, at long last, the £45 million of capital ring-fenced for the medical school in my own city of Londonderry. This has been ongoing for some time and I welcome it very much. I know that many, if not all, of the politicians in this city will welcome what has been achieved. I pay tribute to the Minister, his officials and the people who were at the coalface of getting this agreement over the line; after several weeks, several hours and several days, we got there. This whole House and the other place should welcome this agreement in moving Northern Ireland forward.