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Peter Robinson: I reluctantly agree to this resignation, Jim Wells is right to put family first

By Peter Robinson

"Jim and Grace have been foremost in our prayers over the last few months. Almost daily he has updated me on Grace's progress.

"I trust she will make a full and speedy recovery. I have always advised Jim that we stand ready to assist him in any way we can. I know Jim was enjoying leading change within the department and putting in place new policies that were making our health service better.

"I believe he has made a great contribution and always offered positive support at an Executive level. I would have wanted it to be otherwise but I respect Jim's decision.

"However, he is right to put his family first and I will fully support his decision.

"With such a significant portfolio, there should be an orderly transition; therefore Jim will continue in post until May 11 when the new minister will take up office.

"In the meantime, I have requested that the Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton, assume some of Jim's duties to release some of the pressure.

"I place on record my thanks, and that of my party, for Jim's service and trust everyone will accept the stress and strain Jim has encountered over these past months and offer him and his family support and encouragement as Grace battles her illness."

Belfast Telegraph


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