Just a quick catch up on this story; Mr Wells accused party leader Arlene Foster of not standing by him. “Peter Robinson made the commitment that I would return,” the South Down MLA said. “Then Arlene took over as leader and Arlene, as leader of the party officers, ignored my two written requests for that commitment to be honoured,” he added. Former DUP Leader Peter Robinson spoke to Nolan today about the topic which is worth a listen and analysis … Read more
Political leaders of old and today gathered at Queen’s University, Belfast for a day of events focussed on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said that people “should realise that this agreement was never going to support all the problems of Northern Ireland” while former US President Bill Clinton had a triptych of advice for NI: “Keep the cranes up. Keep the voices free. Keep the votes fair. You’ll figure it out.”
10 years ago today, Ian Paisley announced he was resigning was DUP and First Minister. He didn’t officially go until May. Paisley was succeeded by his long time deputy, Peter Robinson. In a rare moment of North-South cooperation, Bertie Ahern stood down as Taoiseach at the same time and was also succeeded by his Finance Minister, Brian Cowen. Here is the story breaking on UTV and his interview with the station Political Editor, Ken Reid David McCannDavid McCann holds … Read more
One single buff-coloured file, three or four inches thick, contains the stapled minutes of NIO meetings with political parties in May 1991 as they negotiated about the strand one, two and three talks. While perhaps the single most frustrating file I’ve flicked through in PRONI over the last couple of years, the level of detail in the civil service minutes of meetings is incredible, and the retention of humorous asides provides a lot of colour about the characters involved and their relationships.
Worth listening to Peter Robinson’s thoughts on working with Martin McGuinness: While the media obsessed over any difficulty or disagreement that from time to time would arise because of our distinct political mandates we would have been sitting down seeking to find a solution or working out how we would manage the differences. There never were any tantrums. Yelling and screaming were not part of Martin’s temperament. Even after my retirement and through his illness we met, spoke by phone … Read more
Former First Minister, Peter Robinson has taken to Facebook to give his views on the most recent election. He has allowed us to re-post his views on Slugger Over the past few weeks many of you have sent me messages asking for my views on recent events. When I retired as First Minister and Party Leader, I determined not to be enticed into providing a running commentary on local political events. The level of peace and stability that has characterised … Read more
I’m back at work though suffering with a cold, flu or ‘man-flu’. I don’t like feeling congested at the best of times. Being back at work at the start of a cold and wet January doesn’t brighten my mood. This is all put in perspective by Martin McGuinness who has serious health issues, it seems. I wish him a speedy recovery. Nara fada go raibh tú ar do shean léim! In the light of his … Read more
I’m not sure I’ve read a convincing account of why the DUP won back most of their high tide mandate so convincingly and with such ease. One of the more obvious reasons for that is that the DUP is probably the party most members of the media love to hate most. It’s hard for many of us to forget the transgressions of the Paisley years. But the man who put in the footings of this more modern (and more female) … Read more
Remarks by outgoing First Minister, Peter Robinson; I am grateful for the opportunity to make this statement. It is typical of the fairness and courtesy you have demonstrated during your time in office that you provided me with this opportunity and made all the necessary arrangements. I can assure you that I do not intend to trespass on your generosity by speaking too long. Mr Speaker, it has been a great privilege to serve the people of Northern Ireland for … Read more
INSIDE THE TENT: The cloak and dagger nature of the DUP’s latest episode of leadership change provides us an excuse to revisit Hugo Young’s wonderful description of how, prior to 1965, the British Conservative Party handled the tricky process of succession. Tory leaders were, Young observed, ‘removed and replaced by the informal alchemy of a charmed circle of elders’.
There were few surprises during the Saturday sessions of the DUP conference. While the next party leader and First Minister were anointed with praise, neither Nigel Dodds or Arlene Foster were taking anything for granted and second guessing the inevitable view of the elected representatives who will shortly back their formal promotion to new roles. There was a sense of “less is more” about the agenda, with many loose cannons and critical friends “being seen but not heard”. Other than … Read more
After 9 weeks of behind-closed-doors talks, including an exclusive, super-sekrit, meeting in Downing Street with David Cameron, and a less sekrit meeting with Enda Kenny, the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers emerged blinking into the light today to inform the waiting press that… “The core of that agreement, the substance, has already been agreed in dialogue terms between Sinn Féin and the DUP,” [Peter Robinson] said. [added emphasis] So they haven’t put it in writing yet, never mind agreed it … Read more
The northern Irish media have been camped for so long on Peter Robinson’s lawn that there will be very few people left when he eventually does retire from politics who cannot say they hadn’t predicted it already (and in some cases, long long ago). In yesterday’s Irish News Newton Emerson has written something of a valedictory (just in case he is actually going to go this time). It’s a fittingly unsentimental account for such a cold fish of a politician: … Read more
The soundbite of the week past probably came from Westminster and from David Cameron at PMQs. Probed repeatedly by the leader of the Opposition on the cost of cuts to tax credits to the ordinary family, the Prime Minister simply said the reform was blocked by an alliance of “the unelected and the unelectable.” Stormont had an eventful week itself, and I suppose you could argue those adjectives apply to the First Minister and new Junior Minister. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist … Read more
In todays News Letter, Sam McBride has a report on the mounting pressure for Peter Robinson to step down as DUP leader and First Minister. McBride reports the concern within the party about how the DUP would do in an Assembly election led by Robinson; There is concern within the party at how it would fare if an election was called, with one senior figure telling the News Letter that the DUP has been “haemorrhaging” support over recent weeks. In … Read more