Robinson: “I am therefore standing aside as First Minister and other DUP Ministers will resign with immediate effect’

Peter Robinson pulls the plug on the Executive (We think);

As someone who invested many hours trying to bring devolution to Northern Ireland, and to maintain it, I have tried to create space to allow these critical unresolved matters to be dealt with in a structured manner.

Local Ministers making local decisions is best for Northern Ireland.

The failure of the SDLP and Sinn Fein to implement the Stormont House Agreement together with the assessment from the Chief Constable of the involvement of IRA members in murder, the continued existence of the IRA and the arrests that followed has pushed devolution to the brink.

Yesterday I indicated that we would ask the Business Committee to adjourn Assembly proceedings to allow negotiations to take place.  That proposal did not find sufficient support.  The Government can still legislate to suspend the Assembly and allow space for the parties to negotiate.

In light of the decision by republicans, nationalists and the UUP to continue with business as usual in the Assembly, I am therefore standing aside as First Minister and other DUP Ministers will resign with immediate effect with the exception of Arlene Foster.  I have asked Arlene to remain in post as Finance Minister and acting First Minister to ensure that nationalists and republicans are not able to take financial and other decisions that may be detrimental to Northern Ireland.

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs