Iris Robinson to stand down

The BBC have just announced that Iris Robinson is standing down from public life (presumably both as an MP and MLA?) because of depression. “The stress and strain of public life comes at a cost and my health has suffered,” she said.

  • Blair

    That should take the heat off Uncle Gerry for about five minutes. I wonder who will replace her? Hopefully someone with slightly less controversial views.

  • ranger1640

    Some good news at last!!!!

  • al

    While I don’t agree with many of Iris Robinsons views it was clearly a tough decision for her to stand down. I know how tough depression can be and hope her retirement does her some good.

  • Sad news, she has faced considerable criticism but recently seemed to be handling it well.

  • Good riddance.

  • Driftwood

    Certainly explains much of her behaviour. How she ever got elected explains a lot about Northern Ireland,unfortunately.

  • Only Asking

    Thats what happens when you go on the Nolan show, you end up nuts Iris.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Public life isn’t a good place for someone with a history of any kind of mental illness, which makes it strange that Peter didn’t counsel his wife against this decision ..

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Tis a good time to bury Iris’s “removal” for the DUP.

    So long Iris, hope that psychiatrist guy can turn things around for you.

    At least an open admission of depression will be one of the positive things done by Iris.

  • Scaramoosh

    Child sex abuse and depression in one week – this is too normal for Uslter.

  • Danny O’Connor

    While I disagree with Iris on many issues,I would not wish illness on anyone,too much stigma is attached to mental illness,I would wish her well,and hope she feels better soon.

    I may be wrong but I think I read somewhere that Winston Churchill suffered from depression and that he used drink as a form of self medication for it.Some regard him as Britains best ever PM.

  • Driftwood

    Comrade- Winston Churchill battled ‘the Black Dog’ for all his adult life. But he did have a propensity for greatness. probably the Conservative and Unionists best ever leader.

    My opinion is that Iris Robinson,indeed most of the DUP were never fit for public office whether they had mental health problems or not. Unless pure bigotry is a prerequisite for membership.

    Be good if Iris and Gerry left the field of play together as neither had anything to contribute anyway.

  • Only Asking

    They could go to counselling together. Poor dears!

  • iluvni

    So, is it bye election time or does she just plan to coast through the next few months taking the wages and expenses without doing the work?

  • alan56

    Iris was divisive and courted controvisy too much for the good of DUP. This is the right decision for the party and probably for her.

  • Rory Carr

    If Churchill was so shit hot how come he never managed to win an election, was never voted into office as leader of the nation but only ever appointed by fellow Tories? As soon has the British nation had an opportunity they dumped him which surely indicates that his much vaunted popularity was no more than propaganda and self promotion, the latter being a quality for which he was renowned since boyhood.

    Revenge for Tonypandy!

  • Driftwood

    socaire
    try googling some of Winstons speeches. Oh and while his propensity for alcohol is not in doubt, I think his defeat of Hitler was a wee bit special compared to the dreary steeples that Iris and her party are so fond of.

    ps He was neither a racist or a ‘Black Bush’ drinker.

    iluvni
    unless there is a good Tory candidate, It’s Simon or Michelle. Shit choice huh?

  • Only Asking

    sshhh… everybody lets get the hell outta here, someone has just put a post up about Brian Lenihan and cancer, ffs this could drive us all to drink.

  • Framer

    No by-election needed for Westminster as she rarely attended. Anyway a TUV intervention would give the seat to the UUP.

    Her Stormont successor could be selected now without an election although it would look odd if she didn’t give up the Commons seat at the same time.

    A relative could be picked by the party to please the leader.

  • Driftwood

    Rory
    Great leaders are seldom elected.

    Except Stroessner.

    And Pinochet.

    both well above peasants like Ghandi or Mandela.

    I’m ashamed your a South Down man.

  • “If Churchill was so shit hot how come he never managed to win an election, was never voted into office as leader of the nation but only ever appointed by fellow Tories?”

    Rory,

    Surely he not won the 1951 election?

  • “Surely he not won the 1951 election?”

    I’ll try that in English this time…didn’t he win the 1951 General Election?

  • al

    Why are we talking about Churchill?

  • Only Asking

    Why not question if she was right to tell the press, surely there was a recent debate over the issue as to whether or not gordon brown ought to have been asked the question if he were taking pills for this illness.

    The issue is does the illness interfere, in churchills case obviously not, in Iris’ obviously it did, after her performance on the radio is anyone in any doubt about this?

  • Blair

    “Churchill battled battled Black Bush and racism all his @adult’ life too. and only for the Yanks he would be in the dustbin of history where he belongs.”

    And the IRA’s gallant allies would be running Europe. Still, but for Churchill they would be too.

  • joeCanuck

    only for the Yanks he would be in the dustbin of history

    Was it not he who persuaded FDR (illegally for the USA?) to take part in Lend Lease.

  • Peter Fyfe

    I don’t envy her as I am sure it is a hard issue to deal with for her. I would have thought she would have been more understanding of young boys and girls suffering within themselves giving her recently revealed position. Does she have no consideration for the deeper turmoil she may forced upon them giving she was suffering herself?

  • James

    “And the IRA’s gallant allies would be running Europe. Still, but for Churchill they would be too. ”

    Thank god for the Nazis, otherwise we might think that plucky little blighty, that bastion of freedom and democracy, that stood alone against racist warmongers was the same place that had spent over a century killing the wogs, chinks, mohamedians and whatnot and then crubled like paper when faced with something other than bloody spear chuckers.

  • joeCanuck

    Sorry to hear that she is suffering but glad to see her resign given her obnoxious (to me) views.

  • pinni

    From all accounts, Iris was a hard-working politician who was constantly and viciously attacked for her personal or religious opinions and convictions.

    I have always admired her courage for expressing her beliefs in spite of the hatred that she knew she would face.

    I hope she enjoys her retirement from front-line NI politics. I’m sure she will find other positive ways to serve the NI community.

  • Blair

    James,

    Republicans do have some interesting allies, but then they do have some qustionable morals.

  • Blair

    Socaire,

    That flies somewhat in the face of reality. The ‘true government’ of Ireland was allied to the Nazis, and the 26 county statelet government was the only one in the democratic world to sympathise with Germany on the death of ‘Herr Hitler’. They also welcomed Nazi war criminals into their juristiction after the war.

    What makes you think they would have fought them?

  • granni trixie

    I have to be honest rather than go through pretending sympathy with IR for her troubles – good riddence…God knows how many families she has imposed unhappiness on because their loved one is gay. And yet is she due sympathy as her mental condition explains her unacceptable,unprofessional remarks about gay people?

    On another point, funny that she and Gerry seek the public’s sympathy? Why do they need it? No man an island?

  • James

    “Republicans do have some interesting allies, but then they do have some qustionable morals. ”

    Allies? probably.

    Interesting? Most definitely.
    Can’t beat the old german work ethic, taking something as bloody successful as the british empire, with all it’s fascinating little ideas, like concentration camps, divine right to rule lesser races, ‘scientific’ racism, asymetric warfare, cleansing of ethnic peoples to make way for settlers etc and applying that crazy stuff to other whites.

    Imagine that, extending to whites the sorta tactics and beliefs that should be kept focused on nignogs, chinks and such like. No wonder they will be remembered for evermore as the most most evil bastards that ever walked the face of the earth.

  • granni trixie

    Pinni: what’s to admire? Do you also admire,say, those in NI who believed in the physical force tradition and say so? Or Hitler?

    You are overlooking the fact that IR ought to have taken account that being a political leader,hate crime can lead to violence. And as a self proclaimed “Christian” where was love of god in her comments?

  • James

    “And as a self proclaimed “Christian” where was love of god in her comments? ”

    Lots of love for the old testament ‘god’, the crazy old fecker who blows up city walls, turns people to salt, smote the sodomites and slaughters new born babies etc.

    Not so much for the Christ fellah, who was all about the love and stuff and never said anything regarding homosexuality.

    Which raises the question, is there a ‘christian’ church out there that actually ditches the crazy old testament stuff and concentrates on the teachings of Jesus? One with a Saint Vonnegut perhaps 😉

  • Paul

    #

    No by-election needed for Westminster as she rarely attended. Anyway a TUV intervention would give the seat to the UUP.

    Her Stormont successor could be selected now without an election although it would look odd if she didn’t give up the Commons seat at the same time.

    A relative could be picked by the party to please the leader.
    Posted by Framer on Dec 28, 2009 @ 08:41 PM

    the above post has got to be one of the dafest post i have ever read on slugger.If the TUV stand in strangford they will be thrashed out of sight.Who in there right mind would vote in a general election for the TUV = NI version of the http://www.omrlp.co.uk
    The antics of the TUV should send a shudder down the spine of everybody what with one of there members petioning for the release of a secretarian killer.Mr story antics at a dinner function the split in the TUV in graigavon where they are rowing between thmselves is comical what a bunch of no hopers.these TUV disnausers have nothing to offer anybody only doom and gloom and a return to the bad old days

  • Comrade Stalin

    ps He was neither a racist or a ‘Black Bush’ drinker.

    advocator of poison gas on “uncivilized tribes” (racism) and the use of terrorism as a weapon:

    “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.”

    There’s a quote somewhere about how it was right that more sophisticated people, ie whites, supplanted lesser races in the USA, and about how this was the natural order of things, eerily similar to the views of the government he went to war with. But I can’t find it right now.

    Blair:

    The ‘true government’ of Ireland was allied to the Nazis, and the 26 county statelet government was the only one in the democratic world to sympathise with Germany on the death of ‘Herr Hitler’.

    Look beneath the surface, and you’ll note that Ireland broke its neutrality on several occasions in favour of the allies – for example, secretly handing over crashed British airmen back to the authorities at the NI border, sending assistance up to NI following the incendiary bombings, etc.

    On the other hand, if you wanted to look at who assisted the Nazis in deed if not word, you only have to look at the government up at Stormont, who ignored all intelligence warnings and failed to take any kind of countermeasures or preparations ahead of the Nazi air-raids.

  • Blair

    socaire,

    You don’t find it strange that the only country in the democratic world which followed ‘protocol’ with the butcher of millions of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals etc, was De valera’s Ireland?

    Were all those other countries just being ignorant?

  • Blair

    James,

    You must be so proud that Ireland never managed to build an empire. Though it must be said the Irish played a full and enthusiastic part in running the British empire. Rorke’s Drift anyone?

  • Blair

    Comrade Stalin,

    I think you are stretching credulity just a tad. Dev’s government cooperated with the allies in order to ward off an invasion. The Stormont government’s failure to appreciate the threat from the air was not by any stretch of the imagination support for Nazi Germany.

    How embarrassing btw that the Irish army wore German coal scuttle helmets

  • Blair

    socaire,

    No those countries weren’t being ignorant. They were taking a stand against the evils of communism. Another failed ideology btw which Irish republicanism has flirted with.

  • Iris is less likely to be remembered for bringing the issue of mental illness to the public domain than she is for being part of one of Northern Ireland’s political family dynasties, and of course for her controversial remarks about homosexuality. I’ve written more about these legacies on my blog, here: http://www.gladysganiel.com/

  • Blair

    socaire,

    The RUC wore green uniforms. Republicans are any grubby ideology that they can cling onto for support.

  • joeCanuck

    This thread is seriously off track. I apologise for my contribution.

  • Paul

    #

    This thread is seriously off track. I apologise for my contribution.
    Posted by joeCanuck on Dec 28, 2009 @ 11:38 PM

    LMAO off topic again I see joe

  • James

    “You must be so proud that Ireland never managed to build an empire.”

    Managed? If only they had tried a little harder eh?

    Funnily enough, the only other reference I’ve ever read to an Irish Empire, planned or otherwise, is as a comment on revisionism in one of Moorcock’s ‘dancers at the end of time’ novels.

    very true, that manys an Irishman threw his lot in with the British Empire for a quick buck. Bastards the lot of them.
    Do you honestly think I’m gonna defend or fail to condemn the actions of ‘fellow countrymen’ that took part in empire building just because they are ‘fellow countrymen’. I’ll leave that sorta thing upto your good self.

    But seriously, all those dead fuzzywuzzies and ragheads don’t count, not when the Nazis killed so many perfectly good whitemen.

  • Blair

    James,

    Are you a signed up member of the Irish People’s Front? Empires eh? What have they ever done for us?

  • Driftwood

    Can anyone name a DUP MP/MLA that isn’t mentally ill? If so, please give reasons why.
    The old Ulster Unionist party of O’Neill, Chichester Clarke and Faulkner were well educated statesmanlike chaps. All from the natural ruling class. Now we have lunatics and child abuse proles. Something has gone wrong.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think you are stretching credulity just a tad. Dev’s government cooperated with the allies in order to ward off an invasion.

    Which isn’t particularly consistent with being Nazi apologists, wouldn’t you agree ?

    The Stormont government’s failure to appreciate the threat from the air was not by any stretch of the imagination support for Nazi Germany.

    I didn’t say it was. But their blind incompetence materially assisted the Nazi war effort.

    No those countries weren’t being ignorant. They were taking a stand against the evils of communism. Another failed ideology btw which Irish republicanism has flirted with.

    A bit like the Allies during WW2 ? Stalin used to receive visits from Labour MPs who regularly turned up to admire the USSR and hand over vital technology such as jet engine designs.

    “You must be so proud that Ireland never managed to build an empire.”

    Yes, by squashing the peoples in all the countries that couldn’t fight back. I’m reminded of those lines in Blackadder.

    “When a man in a skirt ran at us, we shot him and nicked his country”

    “That was an especially sharp mango, sir”

    I’m glad you’re so proud.

  • Blair

    Driftwood,

    The Sinners wanted the DUP. Now they’ve got them.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Driftwood:

    The old Ulster Unionist party of O’Neill, Chichester Clarke and Faulkner were well educated statesmanlike chaps. All from the natural ruling class.

    May I suggest you get with the party line ? Cameron is opposed to class war politics.

    As I mentioned above, this “ruling class” bodged the defences in NI prior to the Belfast Blitz. The NI Prime Minister was clinically senile, and cabinet minister was a chronic alcoholic. The NI Government made the current assembly/executive look like a bunch of toughened professionals.

  • Blair

    Comrade Stalin,

    Remind us please how St Patrick came to be in Ireland?

  • pinni

    The BBC report includes the following comment …earlier this year [Iris] provoked outrage within the gay community by claiming homosexuality was “an abomination” and that, with help, gay people could be “turned around”.

    The ‘gay community’ may have been outraged but the folks at Exodus International would wholeheartedly agree with her. Exodus is a large international organisation made up of many hundreds of former ‘Gays’ who now enjoy the benefits of an ‘alternative lifestyle’.

  • socaire: { Iris said openly that, according to her religion, homosexual acts and behaviour was wrong. You may disagree but that is her opinion. She also said ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’ Is this not a christian viewpoint. Of course if you are not a christian, then who cares? }

    “Take this thing on homosexuality. I think the view we take here is that there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation, and I think that you know, what’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code. ”

    Pierre Trudeau, Minister of Justice of Canada, 32 years ago this month.

    The day that Ms. Robinson’s resignations become effective is the day her opinions become her own business again – as long as she in no way represents her opinions as those of her spouse who retains public office.

  • Blair,

    “How embarrassing btw that the Irish army wore German coal scuttle helmets.”

    Not really. The German helmets were designed to protect more of the head especially around the ears, neck. So, for practical purposes, they were a smart helmet to wear. Today’s US Marines wear a similar style combat helmet (and I don’t think anyone is calling them Nazis, at least not to their face).

    P.S. The beauty of Slugger. A politician has mental health issues and the discussion leads to the ethics of wearing a particular helmet :).

    PPS. Sympathy to Iris Robinson. Not a unionist but sad to see someone suffer that illness. Best of luck to her.

  • Firstly, I dont wish any illness on anybody. I hope Mrs. Robinson has a speedy recovery.

    One piece of trivial pursuit. I notice that Turgon has generated 68 comments before mine on a post that is only two lines long. 34 comments per line so far. What his the highest number of comments generated per line of a post since Slugger began?

    Just looking at all the comments on this post, there is very little discussion that is relevant to the post, so lets get the ball rolling.

    She is the current MP for Strangford with a majority of 13,049 – on paper at least, the 74th safest seat in the UK.

    If the pattern of the European Election was repeated (i.e. they lost about 40% of their vote to a TUV candidate) they would still retain the seat.

    The DUP has to decide whether to allow a fresh face to stand – in which case double jobbing is not an issue – or use one of its MLAs who already has an established profile.

    Unlike other seats where they have to take into account likely damage by the TUV, this is one seat where they can afford to indulge in a bit of cronyism. What are they likely to do?

  • joeCanuck

    wore German coal scuttle helmets

    I know I’m allowing myself to be sidetracked again but I can’t help it.
    The RUC wore those same helmets, WW11 surplus, when patrolling the streets of Derry after dark back in the early 60s before the most recent “troubles” started.
    Never saw them wear them anywhere else but perhaps they did.

  • Alias

    If she suffers from clinical depression then she is obviously doing the right thing by withdrawing from contentious political life in NI.

    I hope her condition improves, and that she is able to make the best of her retirement.

  • And they thought that registration would improve the quality of debate here…….

  • iluvni

    so, after all that, does anyone know what this withdrawing from public life means in terms of her being an MP?
    Has she resigned?

  • Drumlins Rock

    I persume she has chosen not to stand again as a MP, its only a matter of weeks I guess till we know when the election is, as for MLA i’m guessing she might wait till after the election, espicially if one of the family would like the job, probably she will hold onto the council seat as co-oping is not as easy there and the TUV might seek revenge for Craigavon.
    I disagree with “Alias” that suffwering depression should obiviously mean giving up public life, but it should mean you take you health into consideration and the confrontational manner Iris approached many issues could not have been good for her well being.
    Its hard to know on reflection if her illness altered her work or vice versa, for example the attack on health union officials as committee chair, or the gay outbursts, but it is questionable whether the party should have put her in such high pressure positions knowing of her illness.
    Its not all down to politics i’m sure and like any other family wider family issues can add an additional burden at times rather than an escape from the stress, hopefully she will get the space she needs to deal with her illness and move on with life away from the madness.

  • Fair Deal

    My good wishes to Iris Robinson in her battle with illness

    Driftwood

    “O’Neill, Chichester Clarke and Faulkner were well educated statesmanlike chaps. All from the natural ruling class.”

    If those three are the best that ‘the natural ruling class’ can produce I’m glad such anti-meritocratic ideas as a natural ruling class are in such decline. Never mind if they messed up big time they had the right school tie you know.

  • Alias

    “I disagree with “Alias” that suffwering depression should obiviously mean giving up public life, but it should mean you take you health into consideration and the confrontational manner Iris approached many issues could not have been good for her well being.”

    I didn’t claim that depression means that a politician should resign from public life. There are different types and degrees of depression and different types of public life. I claimed that “clinical depression” (a severe form of it) is incompatible with “contentious political life in NI.”

    It is clear that Mrs Robinson agrees with that since he has stated that she is “profoundly depressed” and has acted accordingly by resigning from public life: “The stress and strain of public life comes at a cost and my health has suffered.”

    In addition, major depression alters a person’s ability to work, so there is an obvious question about fitness for employment. Buy given that MPs do bugger all anyway, public life might actually be an advantage. 😉

    Anyway, she has made a decision to retire because she feels that best serves her own needs. She is right about that, and I wish her all the best.

  • iluvni

    Iris Robinson doesnt have the luxury to make this statement and leave her position unclarified. Either she has resigned as an MP or she hasnt. There’s precious little on the DUP website apart from puff tributes.
    (are there financial implications for her if she goes before a general election?)

    Sympathy for her dealing with her illness isnt an excuse for DUP stalling.

  • David Watson

    As a sufferer from depression, it saddens me to see the predictable cheap, snide snipes appear almost instantly about Iris Robinson.
    Let’s remove the stigma people attach to depression and other mental health illnesses. Regardless of our opinions on the sufferer.
    Last June I had to quit the Belfast Telegraph, where I was an ex-political correspondent, also due to “severe depression”. I continue to battle it. And it is not easy.
    Better to see more contributions on the illness involved. It is severe and can happen to anyone.
    It must be more difficult for a politician to put her name on the illness and go public. While the snipers hide behind pseudonyms.
    David Watson, Belfast

  • Stunning_Steve

    Yes David let’s ditch all the horrible comments she made based on *beliefs* and forget the importance of what could perhaps be the single most important thing in politics – a person’s judgement. Iris’s frame of mind may well merit discounting or at least not taking seriously the things she said in the past about gay people for example.

    You know all those things about praying for people and good psychiatrists here and there to help out gays, all of that will have deeply troubled if not depressed those whom the charges were levelled at. So there are impacts of having to listen to representatives and listen people do because the representatives are given air time on radio shows etc. Some comments may well be cheap to you but cheap is as cheap does.

    Iris Robinson does deserve sympathy, because to deny her it would be to be as bitter as she once was about private sexual issues which took her public fancy quite persistently, but it’s hard to forgive based on the things she said and forgiveness would be easier, if she showed – like you have shown in your own posting – humility.

  • Sean Og

    Best wishes to Iris Robinson in her battle with mental illness. Hopefully her going public will help others suffering from the illness and in some way improve general understanding of it. I may not agree with her politics but I was always taught not to hit a man (or woman) when he’s down.

    I reckon the DUP will run Simon Hamilton at the General election. They have been building his profile over recent months.

    There’s no point in having a bye election so close to a General election.

  • As one of her constituents I am delighted to hear she will be resigning. Sad, but not surprising, that she is seriously mentally ill.

    I wonder if her colleague Jim Shannon will call her a “wee daftie” in the Assembly though? Fingers crossed!

  • Alias

    David Watson, you’re not wrong about that. There is a deliberate attempt made here by some to conflate depression with irrationality, as if that was part of the diagnostic criteria. The term “mental illness” is used as an insult. It’s either cheap political point-scoring or just old-fashioned ignorance.

  • @davidwatson

    When you worked at the BelTel did you go around writing that homosexuals should see a psychiatrist because it was a curable mental illness?

    Didn’t think so.

    Iris Robinson is not you. She is not most people (thankfully) and you should not associate her situation with yours, with which I sincerely hope you have made progress and continue in good health. Hopefully IR will take some time to read Matthew 7:1-5 some time soon and reflect on it.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Are the DUP purposely taking the pressure off Gerry Adams ?

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Iris became too complex.

    She had too go :>)

  • granni trixie

    Well said Mark D.

  • Strangford Unionist

    It is sad but not surprising that some people are coming on here to bash Mrs Robinson. God help her.

    Some of you responsible for bashing her during a difficult time are either political point scoring or as intolerant as some people made her out to be when she quoted scripture. She is entitled to her opinion which many of you refuse her.

    Now that’s democratic and most liberal of you!