Robinson: “Nobody goes on forever and I had a timely warning on that in terms of having a heart attack”

Good scoop by Liam Clarke in the Belfast Telegraph with his interview with First Minister, Peter Robinson.

The interview covered areas of welfare reform, Stormont collapsing but the most interesting bit was in Robinson’s future. Asking him about the issue he said;

Nobody goes on forever and I had a timely warning on that in terms of having a heart attack, but I do want to hand over at the right time and I want to hand over in the right circumstances for both the party and the province.

Clarke noted in his interview that Robinson sounds like a man putting together a legacy with success in winning back East Belfast but the goal of balancing Stormont’s books is so far out of reach.

I remember when Sinn Fein pulled the plug on the Stormont House Agreement that commentators speculated that this would like keep Robinson in the job of First Minister until it was sorted.  I know there are some people in the DUP musing about doing something similar to Sinn Fein, i.e. one person becoming the First Minister and another the party leader.

Either way Robinson didn’t say for certain that he would contest the next election, but I’d imagine that if he is planning to go he would need to be gone before the party conference in November.

Unlike other parties, the DUP leader is elected by the parliamentary party, so a long contest with the membership won’t be necessary.

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  • Andrew

    The sooner Robinson goes, the better. Ever since he replaced Ian Paisley in 2008 (?) the Assembly’s been in perpetual crisis-mode.

  • Robin Keogh

    I think the man has done a remarkably good job. Outside his serious personal problems over the last few years he has had to keep the DUP together with snipeing from within his ranks, Jimbo getting the boot in and advances from other minor parties cutting into his vote. While his lukewarm condemnation of extreme loyalism is a bit dissappointing i think over the years he has shown himself to be a man of great integrity and management skills.

  • Redstar2014

    “A man of great integrity” -who was very fortunate too with his , ahem ” land purchase/sale windfall”…..

  • chrisjones2

    …great integrity? Hmmmm ….compared to which standard Robin?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    “A man of great integrity”??? From what planet does such a statement come? His track record within politics shows nothing of the kind. What did he do to quell violence over say the flag protests and Twaddle? Furthermore, there’s an … eh open secret that’s been doing the rounds for decades. The records will out in time there. Include Redstar’s point as well along with nepotism.
    Wily, sharp, strategic yes and other attributes that contribute to political survival. But integrity? I know NI has its own perverse reality but words mean what words mean. Consult a dictionary Robin.

  • Robin Keogh

    Thanks for the slapdown there fella but i think i will stick to my view if thats ok with u.

  • tmitch57

    The Assembly was quiet in 2007-08 during Paisley’s tenure as DUP leader mainly because it was a honeymoon period and McGuinness and Adams both knew that because of his age Paisley would not last long in power. Therefore they could afford to be conciliatory so that they could blame any future problems on his successor. Robinson would most likely be replaced by Nigel Dodds or possibly by Arlene Foster. Does anyone seriously imagine that either of them would be an improvement over Robinson? Dodds probably would have problems with the Republican leadership because of the IRA attempt to assassinate him while he was visiting his son in the hospital.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Stick to your view or learn something from the rebuttal? Let the rest of us guess which of the 2 options you take. Being obstinately and naïvely anti-heuristic won’t do you many favours buddy.

  • Robin Keogh

    I actually think the way he handled his personal crisis with his wife was the mark of a dignified man. I also believe that he has worked hard to build bridges with nationalist and republican leaders. I have heard that he has a penchant for helping charities behind the scenes and in my view he has been honest and forthright in his political statements even if they can be a bit conservative. If you are looking for perfection in anyone buddy u will always be dissapointed.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    The sooner Robinson goes the better. He has achieved absolutely nothing during his tenure as First Minister. I’m embarrassed as a Northern Irish man to be associated with him as “our” First Minister. The strtong whiff of corruption pervades the man and the actions of his wife tarred him by association. I would have hope that Foster replaces him as she has some brains, but both her and Dodds are “haters” (understandably so for Dodds) so distrust, bigotry and intrantigence will continue to be the central tenets of the DUP under either.

    I am slightly worried for Robin as I suspect he may have bumped his head….

  • Conor Conneally

    He’s yesterday’s man holding back Northern Ireland. It’ll be interesting though, If Arlene gets the job as FM. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland will have female leaders. Does anyone know if Foster and Sturgeon get on well? They could team up to put Cameron in his place.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    SF standards per chance?

  • Ernekid


  • the rich get richer

    How profound ! ! !

  • Pete

    I have to say, I never understand the criticism of Robinson. (Although, to be honest, most people just lazily criticise politicians for the sake of it.)

    He’s actually very sensible when you consider some of the others in the DUP!

    Robinson and McGuinness are both more moderate than lots of the other people in their parties. They’re both doing reasonably good jobs in the circumstances, in my view.

  • Pete

    What, they’d just team up because they’re both women? Pretty lazy thinking…

    What effect would them “teaming up” even have? Cameron has a majority anyway.

  • Granni Trixie

    So nepotism doesn’t matter to you? Or that Robinson has been content to run a party where members have no say in who is leader? Hardly 20th Century politics,is it?
    Will be interesting to see if whoever replaces him addresses modernisation problems.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I think Robin perhaps is commenting from impressions of Peter that have been gleaned through the filter of the media. Robin’s assessment of Peter makes perfect sense if he has not been mixing with those who are around Peter a lot and get a more mixed picture of what is going on, whose assessments may be accordingly rather more critical.

    The problem is that much of what the public has been shown regarding Peter Robinson for many years now comes from supportive, carefully crafted press releases that, in common with similar PR practice used for other “political leaders” across the world, present a particularly hagiographic “statesmanlike” picture tailored for public consumption. This impression is only occasionally broken by occasional gaffs such as his public support for Pastor James McConnoll, the ill considered comments on Islam, and the quickly countered media disclosures about possible sleaze within his family.

    As you say, the problem with a legacy of extreme opposition and distrust within the DUP means that any successor to Peter is likely to be problematic. But these are the people that a significant portion of our community continues to believe represents their proper interests. It is refreshing to find decent, reasonable (and courteous) people such as Danny Kinahan representing a rather more open version of Unionism in another ( not necessarily any more regenerate in general) party, the one thing that suggests some hope for the future to me. So perhaps we will not spend the next century simply sunk in the ancient acrimonies of which Peter Robinson is simply the “lite” version.

  • chrisjones2

    “members have no say in who is leader”

    Now what does that remind me of? I know!!!!

    The UUP in Fermanagh

  • chrisjones2

    “They could team up to put Cameron in his place.”

    Aye …. he will be quaking in his boots nae doubt!

  • chrisjones2


    Do a bit of research on Pete the Prod before you commit to this view

  • mary

    Except Martin & Gerry they want to live forever , need to control power over cults. If they had their way god help generations. True dictatorship.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I think you’re overcooking this a bit Robin. He’s a wily politician and triangulator, but I’m not sure if I’d be bigging up his integrity. Ultimately the election in East Belfast in 2010 ended up being fought on his integrity in the wake of controversy about his £5 land deal, his expenses claims, and his relationship with property developers.

  • Robin Keogh

    You make him sound like a member of fianna fail

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Too, too true, Robin.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    The DUP and Fianna Fail are very similar parties.

  • Granni Trixie

    I totally disagree with your view. It’s not that I am looking for perfection either – for legal reasons can’t say more.