Belfast Telegraph

Robinson promises DUP reshuffle

First Minister Peter Robinson has pledged to make a further DUP ministerial reshuffle at the turn of the new year.

Mr Robinson indicated that a long anticipated change at the department of health - that would see current minister Edwin Poots replaced by South Down MLA Jim Wells - would take place then.

But the DUP leader said there could be ministerial changes in the other two portfolios held by the party - economy and social development. Arlene Foster and Nelson McCausland are the respective incumbents.

In the wake of the Assembly election of 2011, Mr Robinson announced that Simon Hamilton would succeed Sammy Wilson at the head of the finance department in two years - a move confirmed earlier.

At the same time the DUP also said Mr Wells would replace Mr Poots at health.

Explaining the timetable, Mr Robinson said: "If you look carefully at the statement that we released at that time we distinguished between the Department of Finance and Personnel and the other departments.

"I said that after two years I would make a change in finance and at the mid-point of the Assembly I would make the other changes.

"The mid-point of the Assembly, now we have a five-year Assembly, will be the turn of the year."

Asked if he still intended replacing Mr Poots with Mr Wells, Mr Robinson said: "I will be making all of those changes. It may not be just in one department, it may be in a number of departments.

"We believe in the policy of rotation because it gives other members an opportunity to show what their skills and ability is, so I would envisage that we might be doing more than just the department of health."

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