Adams and Robinson: What a difference a year makes…

We’ll be launching the full set of categories for the Slugger Awards later this morning, but Chris Donnelly makes something of a pitch for two extraordinary come backs over the last year. Gerry Adams, who this time last year was plunged into a personal and political crisis over the allegation by his niece that he’d known of her accusations of abuse against his brother and had done nothing to help. This was followed in fairly short order by a Spotlight … Read more

Peter Robinson: the folly of tactics over strategy; and space hoppers

The progress towards an agreement on policing and justice has taken more twists and turns than seemed believable when the current negotiations started. Currently it seems that the DUP are locked in discussion as to whether or not they can accept the current agreement. It is unclear exactly what the final draft will be but unless it is collapsed at the last minute it seems that the devolution of policing and justice will occur within the next few months. Where … Read more

Irisgate roundup

My selection of recent MSM comment pieces about Irisgate divides up roughly into Ulster as Gomorrah (better not say Sodom) and Ulster still as Christ’s Little Kingdom. Brits, wouldn’t you know it, and Brit women squeeze a feminist line out of it. The natives are more shocked and sober. The palm goes to the Times’s Melanie Reid, who performs the columnist’s standby of stretching every line of comment to breaking point. Everyone has missed the point about Iris Robinson. Why, … Read more

The political logic says Peter should stay if he’s cleared

This is a comment prompted by Mick’s oped for the Times. Apologies for posting it rather than commenting in the appropriate thread, but I can’t do so for technical reasons. Mick concludes his eloquent backgrounder: “ For Mr Robinson, his political career is almost over.” This isn’t obvious to me. If the DUP unanimously back Peter under the cosh of scrutiny for sleaze, how can they explain it if they ditch him restored to virtue? Shoulder to shoulder with the … Read more

Robinson takes off a hat…

Yet another twist in the tail is expected today when Peter Robinson makes his statement to the Assembly at 3.30 this afternoon. Using a special instrument by the Assembly, Mr Robinson will be replaced by Arlene Foster for a period of six weeks. It is thought that the First Minister will use this time to clear his name… Arlene Foster is to step into the breach whilst Peter Robinson retains his position as leader of the party… Eamonn Mallie

Looking slightly ahead to the “impending” collapse..

Watch out for spin at this stage. In my view the pro Peter line being taken on the radio this morning may be an attempt to give Peter Robinson as dignified an exit as can be managed. If its not, they may have calculated that tonight’s Panorama is a re-run of Spotlight. I’m not so sure that’s an entirely wise calculation. But it’s hard to conjure with the future when almost everything coming at you unknown unknowns. If Peter goes, … Read more

So what happens next?

What will inform any DUP decision on Peter Robinson’s future? Firstly Peter might simply cut to the chase and declare he is leaving public life. He has a sick wife in Iris. The former Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon’s wife Gertrude was unwell and Mr Mallon walked away from the public spotlight and to this day he hasn’t told a sinner why he did so. I hope he doesn’t mind my drawing attention to what he did. Should Peter Robinson … Read more

Will Robinson’s final day bring forward a genuinely questioning journalism?

Whatever the reasons it seems clear to me since the meeting of senior party officers that Peter Robinson is preparing to leave the Office of First and deputy First Minister today… It is unlikely that he will have been pushed, rather it is likely that Ulster’s most pragmatic and intelligent senior politician has sized his own position up earlier in this crisis and has seen the writing on the wall… What the party need from him now is for the … Read more

Sex, texts and cheques scandal: Wells breaks cover to defend Robbo…

JIM Wells is first to break cover and come out with an unequivocal and stout defence of Peter Robinson on Nolan’s 5 Live show earlier (starts about 1hr 5mins in). There are people who do support Peter… My analysis of the facts, as they stand at the moment, would indicate to me that Peter Robinson, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, has done nothing wrong which would warrant his resignation or removal as First Minister and I will be supporting … Read more

UUP would serve with a Sinn Fein First Minister?

Interesting interview with Lord Trimble: Half way down the page. From 2:15: “…It’s a matter of symbolism rather than substance…I’m not sure to what extent that would be a problem..” I wonder what the DUP attitude will be. DewiWelsh Nationalist. Rugby Fan. Know a bit about History and Railways…

If there has to be a next time after this week…

The gist of Paul Bew’s analysis in the Times will be familiar to Slugger readers. He rightly concludes: There is still majority support in both communities for the power-sharing institutions but in the complex crisis that is unfolding it is not immediately obvious how that reality can express itself If this Assembly implodes, two firm messages should become clear.First, there will be a next time, if this time we fail. The idea that some great constitutional movement is next in … Read more

The Clash, Channel Tunnel, Bosworth Field, Chaos and Donald Rumsfeld

The Clash sang: Should I stay or should I go now. That is of course the question for both Peter Robinson and his party; for other unionists it is also a valid question. The TUV and UUP can claim no credit for bringing this disaster upon the DUP. Iris Robinson managed to dig this hole not so much with a JCB but rather having borrowed the equipment used to excavate the channel tunnel.If Robinson goes the new DUP leader will … Read more

Iris Robinson has been attending hospital for ongoing acute condition

Just picked this up from Stephen Nolan on Twitter: “Found out in last few seconds. Iris Robinson receiving acute phyciatric treatment in a Belfast hospital.” Update: According to the BBC this evening it appears the story is slightly more complex than we first reported… This treatment is ongoing: ie it is not the result of the last few days but a part of the psychiatric condition she’s been suffering over a longer period… Looks like if the skiing holiday was … Read more

The drip feed isn’t over

Suzanne Breen in the Tribune has more allegations about Iris’s private life. After Friday, although they kick the Robinsons when they could hardly be further cast down, I regret to say these claims although unsubstantiated are in the public interest. And with her reputation in tatters they are most unlikely to be challenged in court. David Trimble who is taking his revenge cold is surely right about the unforgiving nature of her fall. Meanwhile Sammy Wilson, the nearest the DUP … Read more

Which collapse scenario do you prefer?

On Inside Politics, collapse scenarios loomed ever larger. Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly refused to answer Mark Devenport’s question posed twice – if Robinson resigns will McGuinness be renominated? SF’s Urgent Question to Robinson tomorrow is clear evidence of breakdown already. If FMDFM was functioning at any level, it would be dealt with between the two leaders privately and a joint statement would follow. Did you imagine for a second that would ever happen?. Kelly gave credibility to what I’m hearing, … Read more

After the brutality, the sword of Damocles hangs over Peter Robinson…

As Peter Robinson is being forced to ponder where he goes from here his wife Iris is preparing to officially exit from the Assembly. The procedural cutting of Iris’s link with the Assembly will necessitate a letter to Speaker William Hay. Inside the DUP an assessment is being made of what damage has already been done as a result of the ongoing allegations being hurled at the Robinsons.In the frankest exposition of his record as a husband and public representative … Read more

“that same glorious tradition of self-indulgence”

Whilst someone is telling Brian that Sinn Féin “will in effect pull the plug on powersharing next week” – and news that the party intends to table an emergency motion in the Assembly asking the Northern Ireland First Minister to answer questions about recent allegations suggests they’re in a trouble-making mood – in the Irish News Patrick Murphy provides some useful clarity on Sinn Féin’s latest manufactured “crisis” [further background here]. “With only a few exceptions in Irish history, republicans … Read more

Fundamentalists, Repentance and Forgiveness

An important part of the recent Iris Robinson affair has been the part played in it of her very open evangelical Christianity and the apparent breach of a number of God’s Laws. This has been followed by the explanation of God’s forgiveness by a number of leading churchmen including Senior Pastor of Whitewell James McConnell and David McIlveen (a very highly regarded Free Presbyterian Minister). The concept of forgiveness in fundamentalist Protestantism is possibly worth outlining in a little detail. … Read more

If not Armageddon, it looks like limbo

I’m hearing that Martin McGuinness will in effect pull the plug on powersharing next week by facing the DUP with an ultimatum they can’t accept on justice and policing. The uncompromising tone of Gerry Adams’s announcement of the postponment of their Friday ard comhairle due to bad weather seems only to have delayed the grim message. So Sinn Fein will give the DUP no quarter over the Robinson crisis and will rather seek to exploit it. That is the depth … Read more

BBC Cameras outside DUP Headquarters in Belfast…

Stand by for more information… Update: No confirmation, stand down expectations… BTW, I’m on the BBC Radio 4 PM programme shortly… Mick FealtyMick 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