Belfast Telegraph

Iris Robinson 'improves day by day'

Former MP Iris Robinson is making a steady recovery in her battle against depression, her husband Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has said.

The Democratic Unionist leader said: "Iris improves day by day."

Mrs Robinson, 61, has not been seen in public since she returned to Northern Ireland after undergoing intensive psychiatric treatment in London following her confession of an affair with a toyboy lover and her attempt to take her life.

After meeting with relatives of suicide victims in Belfast, Mr Robinson said: "Iris improves day by day. This is a long-term struggle that she and the family go through, and I think I can see the improvements. I have no doubt that she will come through."

The First Minister had avoided making public comment on his wife's condition since her return, and party colleagues had declared he would not be providing a "running commentary" on her recovery.

But Mr Robinson addressed the issue after his visit with suicide survivors and said his family's experience had given him an insight into the tragedy faced by others.

"It gives me some understanding of the issue," he said. "But some of the stories I heard today, they would bring tears from a stone. The burdens that people have had to carry."

Mr Robinson visited the Lighthouse charity in north Belfast which supports those bereaved by suicide and helps anyone at risk of taking their own life.

He held more than an hour of private talks with victims before being shown around the support group's Duncairn Gardens office.

"I am here to listen to what people want to tell me of their own experiences," he said. "But I think anybody who has these kind of issues touch them will understand the ripple effect within family and friends. And I think they will be a lot more understanding of the dilemma that people are in."

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