Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Questions posed to Peter Robinson

Parade participants with a cutout of Iris Robinson. The Strangford MP's comments regarding homosexuality were a focal point for some marchers
Parade participants with a cutout of Iris Robinson. The Strangford MP's recent comments regarding homosexuality were a focal point for some marchers
Iris and Peter Robinson
Newly elected DUP MP Peter Robinson and his wife Iris. 4/5/1979
Iris Robinson has said she tried to kill herself after making a midnight confession to her husband that she had an affair
Iris Robinson
Peter Robinson shares a kiss with wife Iris in the First Minister's office at Stormont
First Minister Peter Robinson
Iris Robinson
First Minister Peter Robinson (right) and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at a press conference in Stormont Castle
Peter Robinson
Back in the saddle: Iris Robinson MP MLA by a hazard sign in Comber to alert drivers to horses and riders. All too often these signs are being ignored, putting lives in danger, says Mrs Robinson. She has called for improved facilities for horses and riders on local roads

Peter Robinson was questioned by political journalists after reading his statement

Question: Ken Reid, UTV political editor: "Is it your intention to remain as First Minister and leader of the DUP?"

Answer: "I have done nothing wrong. I admit that I have been deeply hurt but it is my intention to continue with my work. I have not allowed my personal life to interfere with the work that I have had to do for the public.

"It would be worthwhile drawing your attention to the fact that it was about midnight, 1am on the first, second of March that all these events became known to me, when Iris tried to take her own life.

"Within 12 hours I was standing at the despatch box in the Assembly to answer First Minister's questions. Within a week there had been the brutal murder of two soldiers and later a policeman.

"I don't think that anybody, even at the very height of these events, could suggest that I was not doing my duty and I continue to do so."

Q: Deric Henderson, Press Association Ireland editor: "Are your financial affairs under investigation?"

A: "In all of my public life I have acted in the most professional and ethical way. There is nothing that anybody will produce.

"I have heard all sorts of nonsense and rumours over the last number of days, even indicating that I had lost £3 million in shares and a lot of other stuff as well, absolute rubbish.

"It may be worthwhile saying to you that the first copies of the two documents that you have had today were starting to be prepared in November of last year.

"There was a very clear intention that the two statements would have been given before Christmas (but) there was very firm medical advice that Iris would not have been able to cope with the consequences.

"When we put out the statement (at the end of December about Iris stepping down as an MP) because as far as I was concerned Iris could not continue in (political) life, the rumour mills began, all sorts of stuff was being put out which is absolute nonsense.

"It is particularly for that reason that these statements are being issued today, so that people know exactly where we stand."

Q. Mark Devenport, BBC Northern Ireland political editor: "Are you confident that, given the kind of rumours that have been around, that neither yourself nor Iris have done anything illegal in relation to financial or political matters?"

A: "I am absolutely certain that everything that I have done has been done as it should. I know of no allegation that suggests otherwise.

"During the course of yesterday I received a letter from one of the organisations within the BBC.

"It contained no allegation against me, it asked questions which are easily answered but there is no allegation that will stand."

Q: RTE northern editor Tommie Gorman: "All sections of the community looks to you as First Minister... there have been problems in that administration for several months over issues like policing and justice.

"Are you confident, given the amount of torture that you (have been through) in recent months, you are in a position to lead that power-sharing government and to deal with issues like policing and justice because it is in your public role that people will look to you?"

A. "I have already indicated that even at the height of what you describe as our torment I took actions which I don't think anybody would question in terms of giving leadership.

"No political party relies on one person in the decision-making process, there's no decision that has been taken, that has been taken by these events and no decision in the future will be taken by these events and if indeed there ever reached a situation where I felt I was in the way of progress, then I would gladly be stepping aside."

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