Friday 19 January 2018

Northern Ireland's Peter Robinson discharged from hospital following heart attack

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson
Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson

Lesley-Anne McKeown

Northern Ireland's First Minister has been discharged from hospital.

Peter Robinson, 66, spent four nights at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital after suffering a suspected heart attack.

He underwent a procedure on Monday but has been allowed to return home to recover.

Senior DUP sources said he was in good spirits.

A spokesman said: "He was discharged this morning and is back at home. He is in good form and is happy to be home. His spirits are good."

Mr Robinson used Twitter to thank the medics in the specialist cardiac unit.

He said: "Happy to be discharged and back home. Thanks to the wonderful RVH cardiac team - everyone a star.

"Many thanks to all who sent messages of support & encouragement in the last week. Your thoughts & prayers have been really appreciated."

Yesterday the DUP leader was visited at the Royal by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who took him a gift of a bowl of fruit.

The father of three fell ill at home on Monday.

He was taken by ambulance from his property in the Castlereagh hills on the outskirts of east Belfast to the nearby Ulster Hospital but was transferred to the RVH - the region's largest dedicated cardiac centre.

Messages of good will flooded in from political leaders across the UK, Ireland and America.

His hospital admission came on the eve of a crucial debate on the implementation of controversial welfare reforms.

The contentious issue has been threatening to collapse the power sharing administration at Stormont with the DUP warning of a £600 million funding gap.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP are opposed to any changes to the benefits system and used a blocking mechanism to ensure the Welfare Reform Bill fell when it was brought before the Assembly on Tuesday.

Yesterday the Stormont institutions lurched into a deeper crisis after Executive ministers failed to agree a budget for public spending.

Mr Robinson, who last week met the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Northern Ireland, has endured a punishing schedule in recent months.

The DUP had a difficult election campaign and was forced to enter into a pact with the rival Ulster Unionist Party to secure key seats.

Further pressure was added when Jim Wells resigned as health minister after sparking a furore with comments linking same-sex marriage to child abuse.

The resignation meant Mr Robinson had to reshuffle his top team at Stormont.

Press Association

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