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Friday 9 December 2016

'Business as usual': DUP leader is back at his desk

Michael McHugh and Deric Henderson

Published 08/01/2010 | 05:00

DUP leader Peter Robinson was back behind his desk yesterday following the shock revelation that his wife tried to kill herself after confessing to an affair.

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The Northern First Minister was meeting Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness for talks about devolving policing and justice powers from London to Belfast.

Mr Robinson arrived at Stormont Castle for the meeting and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams was also there.

Earlier Mr Robinson went to his Belfast constituency office, his wife Iris's base in nearby Newtownards, and the DUP headquarters in Belfast, where he told staff it was "business as usual".

Mrs Robinson's relationship 18 months ago was a brief one but in a dramatic statement on Wednesday she revealed the devastating impact it had had on the family and how she attempted to take her own life last March. Mrs Robinson (60) said: "Everyone is paying a heavy price for my actions. . . I am so, so sorry."

Betrayal

The man has not been identified, and even though Mr Robinson considered walking away because of his sense of betrayal, he insisted he was determined to save his marriage.

He also said he was staying on as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party going into this year's general election.

Sitting in the study of his home on the outskirts of east Belfast, choking with emotion and with his eyes welling up, Mr Robinson said: "That is the road I am on. It is a road without guarantees, but not without hope."

Mrs Robinson had recently announced that she was quitting politics because of a battle with depression. There had since been intense behind-the-scenes speculation about the state of their 40-year marriage.

Mr Robinson has been away from his office at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, but suddenly called a special press briefing on Wednesday afternoon at his house in Dundonald, where officials issued a personal statement by his wife before he went on to speak to four journalists to confirm the couple's private turmoil.

He said: "I love my wife. I have always been faithful to her. In a spirit of humility and repentance, Iris sought my forgiveness.

"She took responsibility upon herself alone for her actions and I have forgiven her."

Irish Independent

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