Empey: “We are moving steadily towards a post Robinson era…”

Reg Empey is the first political leader to come out with a combative statement on the future position of Peter Robinson… Below the fold…From Reg Empey

“In her statements of last week and this Wednesday Iris Robinson made absolutely no mention of her ‘inappropriate relationship’ in respect of the borrowing of money to finance Kirk McCambley’s business at the Lough Keeper’s Inn.

“In his interview and statement on Wednesday, Peter Robinson made no mention of some of the financial matters either, even though it was clear from the Spotlight report that he was aware of them from at least January 2009.

“Against that background I repeat my demand that Iris Robinson should step down immediately from her role as MP, MLA and Councillor.

“Studying transcripts throughout the day we have compared and contrasted the comments of the Spotlight Programme with previous statements made by both Peter and Iris Robinson. We have also had a preliminary examination of the rules governing disclosure and it seems clear to us that we are moving steadily towards a post Robinson era.”

“The prospect of a plethora of enquiries going on for months – distracting the First Minister and leaving Stormont in a powerless state cannot be contemplated. The Ulster Unionist Party therefore believes that Peter Robinson should give very serious consideration to his own position as First Minister.”

The country is crying out for leadership at a time when we are encompassed by terrorism on the one hand and a stalled Executive on the other – he is not providing that leadership.

Those in the Assembly who wish to see a stable and effective institution must speak out and join the Ulster Unionist Party in demanding a root and branch change to the way in which the Executive is run. We must refocus on the problems facing ordinary people and start to deliver the services and the policies needed to prepare Northern Ireland for the future.

“The Executive is already in a very precarious state and matters can only get worse if Mr. Robinson is hobbled by what will, inevitably, be a long-drawn-out process of public enquiries and media hounding.”

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty