The restoration of Stormont in January ended three years of division, giving the people of Northern Ireland the ability again to make their voices count through their elected MLAs. All of those involved in the process of restoration deserve thanks for their persistence, dedication and willingness to compromise.
Though it is right to celebrate this restoration, we should remain cautious, for the foundations of the devolution settlement in Northern Ireland remain fragile. As the Province is an essential part of the United Kingdom, the UK Government has an ethical, as well as a constitutional obligation to defend and strengthen these foundations. Turning a blind eye to this duty would be a fundamental mistake.