Peter Robinson may attend Irish Open just a day after leaving hospital
First Minister Peter Robinson is expected to keep a long-standing engagement to meet influential investors at the Irish Open in Newcastle today - just a day after being released from hospital following serious heart trouble.
The Belfast Telegraph understands the First Minister is keen to keep the appointment despite the fact that it comes less than a week after he dramatically fell ill and had to undergo a cardiac procedure in hospital.
Mr Robinson is determined to continue in his role as First Minister while he recuperates. No temporary stand-in was appointed while he was in hospital this week, and there are no immediate plans to replace him now he has been discharged.
But it remains unclear when the 66-year-old will return full-time to his Stormont office alongside Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Mr Robinson was released from the Royal Victoria Hospital yesterday morning and immediately paid tribute to the heart specialist team.
He tweeted: "Happy to be discharged and back home. Thanks to the wonderful RVH cardiac team - everyone a star."
And he also acknowleged the hundreds of 'get well' messages he received during the last few days, which included those from Prime Minister David Cameron, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and US envoy Gary Hart.
"Many thanks to all who sent messages of support and encouragement in the last week. Your thoughts and prayers have been really appreciated," he said.
The DUP leader had spent four nights in hospital after being admitted with a heart attack in the early hours of last Monday morning.
He went to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, which is nearest his home in the Castlereagh hills, and was then moved onto Belfast's RVH, where he was fitted with a stent.
The party said it would not provide a "running commentary" on the First Minister's health now that he was back home with his wife Iris.
But a spokesman said Mr Robinson was in good spirits.
"He is in good form and is happy to be home. His spirits are good," he said.
Mr Robinson had complained of pains during a cycle ride with his MLA colleague Sammy Douglas last weekend. He had recently taken up cycling to improve his fitness levels, but twice complained of tiredness and feeling sore and had to stop.
Then he felt more ill on Monday and was rushed to hospital - the day before the crunch Assembly vote that failed to agree on the implementation of welfare reform, plunging the Executive's budget into crisis.
His illness came just four days after he met the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Northern Ireland after two days in the Republic.
But in recent months he has undergone a punishing schedule including the general election campaign, when his party lost its South Antrim seat to the Ulster Unionists but regained Mr Robinson's former East Belfast stronghold from Alliance deputy leader Naomi Long.