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Paisley in apparent rebuke to Robinson over ‘clever tricks’

By Claire McNeilly

Former First Minister Ian Paisley Snr has delivered an apparent rebuke of his successor Peter Robinson.

Writing his weekly column in yesterday’s News Letter, the ex-leader of the DUP lambasted “talk of clever tricks and cunning plans”.

In his first public comments since the Hillsborough Agreement, the veteran politician warned such talk could prevent the deal on policing and justice from succeeding.

“What is important now is that the deal is enacted,” Mr Paisley said.

“All this talk of clever tricks and cunning plans is to undermine the chance of its success.

“If a transaction has been done, then it should not be the business of either side to act with mischievous intent, nor to attempt to paint themselves as the ingenious brain that knows more than everyone else.

“Sleight of hand will never build community confidence, but it will reveal a palm for all to read. If the deal is worthy, own it, don’t ambush it!”

Mr Paisley’s comments come as rumours persist of ‘side deals’ emerging from the talks which produced the Hillsborough Agreement.

And they follow a BBC interview last week in which Mr Robinson described a “clever device” to safeguard against non-delivery of the deal.

The remarks also coincide with the news that Mr Robinson's signed a post-dated letter of resignation as First Minister and gave it to his party, should the ‘Castle concord’ fail.

Earlier this week, Belfast Telegraph political correspondent Noel McAdam said side deals are a “significant feature of politics everywhere”.

“The whole of the St Andrews Agreement has been regarded as a proposed series of side deals — not to mention side deals to the side deals,” he said.

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