Irish nationalist appointed as Northern Ireland first minister for 1st time

A power-sharing government has returned to Northern Ireland after a two-year hiatus, with an Irish nationalist appointed as the first minister for the first time.

In Northern Ireland, violent confrontation between Catholic residents seeking separation from the United Kingdom and Protestants opposing the move continued for more than 30 years. Following a 1998 peace deal, political parties representing both sides have for the most part jointly run the devolved government.

The pro-British Democratic Unionist Party, or DUP, walked out around two years ago over concerns over post-Brexit trade arrangements. The DUP agreed to return to power-sharing after the passing of new legislation under British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein's Vice President Michelle O'Neill was named the first minister on Saturday.

O'Neill said, "Wherever we come from, whatever our aspirations, we can and must build our future together."

Sinn Fein is the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army, or IRA, which conducted an armed struggle in Northern Ireland.

The party maintains the policy of abstaining from the British parliament at Westminster as taking seats in parliament requires pledging loyalty to the king.