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Ministers retreated to bunkers after Rory photocall

By Noel McAdam

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness were last seen in public together meeting new Open champion Rory McIlroy at Stormont on July 22.

But sometimes it seems our First Minister and Deputy First Minister operate in their own, very different, bunkers.

They both attended the Executive meeting last week, which finally reached a hard-hitting deal on departmental budget cuts.

And neither the DUP leader nor senior Sinn Fein figure are said to have had a "proper" holiday this summer – although Mr McGuinness was in Spain earlier.

There has been speculation over whether the First Minister will get away this year, given a particularly busy schedule – although one source yesterday said: "He's hoping to get a few days away at the end of August."

The Executive usually does not meet during August, when it is rare for the political temperature to be turned up so high.

The problem, of course, is the growing vacuum eating away at the heart of devolution and the public perception of politics here.

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