Tuesday 23 May 2017

Maurice Hayes: DUP leader's woes exemplify unionism's lack of real direction

Maurice Hayes

Maurice Hayes

Perhaps, like Brian Lenihan, this wave of public sympathy will strengthen him

POLITICS is a cruel business. It can also be brutal, even beastly, as when Brian Lenihan was denied the time over Christmas to come to terms with his diagnosis and to break the news to his family. So, too, the sight of Peter Robinson, an intensely private man, publicly reciting the intricacies of the most intimate personal and family matters, raises the question of whether what interests the public is necessarily a reflection of the public interest, and where the line should be drawn.

Few could have watched Mr Robinson's television presentation without being moved. Here was a very private person peeling back painful layer after revelatory layer to uncover a momentary hitch in a 40-year happy marriage. The initial reaction had to be of almost universal sympathy for him as the victim, the innocent party, trying hard to save his marriage, and at the same time resolutely determined to carry out his public duties. Perhaps, like Lenihan, this wave of public sympathy and admiration will strengthen him in his battles on both fronts.

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