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Robinson and McGuinness reappointed

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First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness pledged to re-double their efforts to create a better and shared future in Northern Ireland as they were reappointed First and Deputy First Minister.

On the first day of the new Assembly term, the DUP leader and Sinn Fein veteran both insisted those who opposed the peace process did not represent the people of the region and would ultimately fail.

They were not the only ones who found themselves in familiar roles as outgoing Speaker William Hay was re-elected to the post.

But the DUP MLA will not serve for the full mandate after it was announced that his party and Sinn Fein had struck a deal that will see the symbolic position shared this mandate, with a republican set to take the reins in 2014.

Sinn Fein's Francie Molloy, who is likely to succeed Mr Hay, Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs and the SDLP's John Dallat were elected as deputy speakers.

Affirming the pledge of office, Mr Robinson said: "The electorate made it very clear to all of us as we went round the doors that they want to see us create and safeguard employment, they want us to help the vulnerable in society, they want to see us improve the front-line services and they also want to see us unite this province and they want to see us creating a shared society."

Hitting out at the dissident republicans, Mr Robinson also took a swipe at Mr Allister, putting his twist on the TUV leader's own pledge to be "a thorn in the flesh of the DUP".

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"There are those outside who think they can disturb the will of the people through terrorism and there might even be some inside who think that they might do it by politic means," he said. "To all of them I say I will be a thorn in the flesh of anyone who would try to obstruct the democratic will of the people of Northern Ireland."

Mr McGuinness said: "There are big issues facing us. Yes we have different allegiances. There are people in this house whose allegiance is to what they call the United Kingdom, I am an Irish republican, my allegiance is to the people of Ireland, but I can work with people who observe a different flag without being offended by that.

"And I think it's not too much to expect that they can work with me without being offended by the flag that I give my allegiance to."


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