Northern Ireland's political leaders have agreed a new blueprint for fighting sectarianism.

The news came as Stormont sources also confirmed that plans for overseeing controversial parades will be completed within hours.

Both developments are part of the implementation of the Hillsborough deal on policing and justice powers and parades, which was recently brokered to stabilise the power-sharing administration.

The efforts to put the deal in place came despite a dissident republican bomb attack in Newry, Co Down, with the aim of derailing the political process.

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announced that they have agreed a long-awaited programme for cohesion, sharing and integration (CSI).

The plan to help combat sectarianism in Northern Ireland society comes after the Alliance Party signalled it wanted the CSI policy completed before it considered supporting the Hillsborough agreement's plan to devolve policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Alliance party leader David Forde said his party had been seeking clear and definitive progress between the DUP and Sinn Féin around the blockage on the new community relations strategy.

'Making progress on building a united community is vital for the future of Northern Ireland and is Alliance's number one priority.

‘The creation of a shared future is also central to the smooth delivery of policing and justice.

'We now have a document agreed by both DUP and Sinn Féin which should shortly go out for public consultation. This is a positive step forward for everyone in Northern Ireland,' he said.

Mr Ford added that Alliance looked forward to examining this document in detail and would be making suggestions during the consultation process and when it comes to Committee.

'A document is only a start. What matters is delivery and Alliance will be holding the First and Deputy First Ministers, and in fact the entire Executive, to account on how well they deliver,' he said.