Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Rebecca Black: Traumas take toll on gaunt Peter Robinson

DUP leader Peter Robinson (left) and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness during a press conference after a deal was announced about Northern Ireland's power-sharing government.

Six months ago Peter Robinson’s appearance seldom raised an eyebrow, his handsome full face, gelled hair and slightly straining suit jacket buttons were a common sight in the corridors of power.

But as he told the world his party had reached agreement with its arch rival Sinn Fein yesterday, the toll of recent months were clear for all to see in his gaunt frame and hollowed-out, ashen face.

As he joked with the media, even the laughter could not brighten his weary-looking eyes.

He has had an arduous year following the scandal of his wife’s affair and financial dealings, now the subject of a police inquiry.

Mr Robinson has also had to deal with a temporary stand-down as First Minister, disquiet in his party and mammoth negotiations with regard to policing and justice.

In a frank interview with the Belfast Telegraph last month, the First Minister admitted he had lost 35 pounds (two-and-a-half stone) in the last 10 months and wryly commented: “It’s not a diet plan I would recommend.”