Belfast Telegraph

Arlene Foster: I just wish my dad had lived to see me elected

First Minister Arlene Foster at the election count in Omagh with the Belfast Telegraph coverage
First Minister Arlene Foster at the election count in Omagh with the Belfast Telegraph coverage
From left: DUP’s Paula Bradley, party leader Arlene Foster, Joanne Buntingand Emma Little Pengelly
Regret: Arlene Foster’s late father John Kelly in his RUC uniform

By Noel McAdam

Arlene Foster has today revealed that her only regret after the Stormont election is her father was not alive to see her become First Minister "in my own right".

In an article for the Belfast Telegraph, the DUP leader said it would have been "special" had he been able to be there when the new Assembly meets this Thursday.

Mrs Foster was aged just eight when the man she has called "darling daddy" - John Kelly, a farmer and RUC man - was shot and wounded by IRA gunmen. Mr Kelly died more than four years ago, aged 81.

"When I am re-elected First Minister of this great country on Thursday afternoon my only regret is that my father will not be there to see me elected as First Minister in my own right," writes Mrs Foster.

"I know he was proud of everything that all his children and grandchildren have done and achieved, but it would have been special for him to be here to see it."

Mrs Foster also writes about how she intends to be a First Minister for everyone.

"I will work with other parties to get things done. We still live in a divided society in many respects but I believe that in the coming days we can agree a Programme for Government that can deliver our priorities for everyone in Northern Ireland," she writes.

The DUP emerged as the largest party with 38 seats, while Sinn Fein slipped one to 28, and the Ulster Unionists regained seats they had lost through three resignations to make them the third largest party with 16 seats.

The SDLP sustained most damage, losing two MLAs to leave it ith 12, while Alliance remained stuck on eight.

MLAs are expected to gather at Stormont today, mainly for party meetings. The first main plenary of the new session will be on Thursday when Martin McGuinness will also be reappointed as Deputy First Minister.

The DUP appears set to secure the Speaker's position again, with speculation it will be the East Belfast MP Robin Newton.

The biggest surprise of the election was the success of People Before Profit, who won two seats.

The five main parties now have to agree a blueprint for the next five years.

Both the UUP and SDLP have said they will consider going into Opposition if the Programme for Government does not sufficiently reflect their policies.

The first main topic on the agenda is believed to be health, with both the DUP and Sinn Fein having suggested an extra £1bn for the health service.

But there have already been warnings that a cash injection of that size would mean significant cuts across the other, new departments.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph