The devolution of policing and justice powers is hardly a matter to stir the political blood. But such comparatively minor details matter greatly in Ulster's still-divided society and the prospect of greater devolution without sufficient guarantees was of deep concern to the Province's unionists.
It has also been of high importance to Gordon Brown, as shown by the amount of time and effort which the Prime Minister and his Irish counterpart, Brian Cowen, put into resolving the deadlocked talks between the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein. This was because, as Mr Brown well knows, peace in Northern Ireland remains one of New Labour's few tangible achievements and the logjam threatened to bring about a political vacuum which would be filled by renewed violence.
This possibility has been only too apparent in recent months, with the assassination of two soldiers and a police officer by dissident republicans last year being followed by a bomb attack on a Catholic policeman earlier this year, which left him seriously injured.
Rather than this grisly prospect, however, it is likely that DUP minds were concentrated by the allegations of sexual and financial
impropriety surrounding First Minister Peter Robinson's wife, Iris. In the straitlaced world of Ulster's Protestants, the scandal threatened a
severe loss of political support for the party, which meant that it could not afford to risk a walkout from the talks and consequent elections.
As a result, although it may have had a long and difficult birth, it is to be hoped that this latest settlement is a lasting one and that Ulster politics now stay out of the headlines for the perfectly good reason that Northern Ireland's Ministers are getting on with the job of government.