Belfast Telegraph

Peter Robinson re-emerges as he offers a guiding hand

By Noel McAdam

Peter Robinson has offered to help manage Northern Ireland's uncertain future in the aftermath of the EU referendum result through a cross-border body.

The former First Minister attended a board meeting of Co-operation Ireland the day after the Brexit vote.

And its chairman Dr Christopher Moran said it was ready to assist both the London and Dublin governments and the Stormont Executive "in any way possible".

The body warned the result of the referendum could strain relationships inside Northern Ireland, between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and between the island and Britain.

It's the first time Mr Robinson has emerged in public life since his resignation as First Minister and DUP leader six months ago.

He joined the board of the organisation - formerly known as Co-operation North - just over a month ago and Friday's was the first meeting he had participated in.

He was not available for comment yesterday.

Former Fine Gael Taoiseach John Bruton was announced as Co-operation Ireland's vice-chairman at the same time Mr Robinson joined the board.

Dr Moran said they were "two very significant appointments for the organisation" and "a reflection of the importance of Co-operation Ireland's work and status".

Following the board meeting in Dublin on Friday he issued a further statement that said: "The UK referendum on the EU is now over.

"It is clear that whilst there has been a vote to leave the EU, the result has the potential to undoubtedly strain relationships within Northern Ireland, between Northern Ireland and the Republic and between Ireland and the UK.

"It is in this context that Co-operation Ireland, with its experience and expertise in dealing with complex issues around identity and the fostering of dialogue, stands ready to assist both governments and the NI Executive, in any way possible, to continue the progress made by all the political parties over the last number of years."

He concluded: "Clearly people will have taken different positions during the referendum and the outcome will have led to a degree of uncertainty and nervousness about the future.

"We want to assure all parties that we are willing to offer whatever assistance we can through our board or executive to facilitate dialogue if required. Our priority is stability for the economic and social stability of all."

Belfast Telegraph

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