Assembly Election

Peter Robinson: Arlene Foster 'has been harshly treated over recent weeks'

Arlene Foster succeeded Peter Robinson as DUP leader early last year
Digital staff

Peter Robinson took to Facebook to break his silence with a 1,200 word post on the RHI scandal, Arlene Foster and the snap election.

The former First Minister and DUP leader said that there was was never any need for an election nor were the Northern Irish people going to derive any benefit from it. 

"I cannot help feeling," he said, "no matter what now will be said, that had Martin McGuinness been in good health a breakdown would have been avoided." 

He argued, "more belligerent elements" in Sinn Féin had "seized their opportunity".

Mr Robinson said he had warned Mrs Foster when she had taken over from him in January 2016 that after a short honeymoon period "they would come for her." 

"The holder of the top post on entering office becomes the target of every envious politician and party," he said. 

"But even by that standard she has been harshly treated over recent weeks. You can be sure that when the Public Enquiry is completed, and suggestions of wrongdoing are found to be groundless, the media will not fill their programmes and columns with apologies and the self-serving politicians in Sinn Fein, the SDLP, UUP and Alliance who have directed thinly disguised accusations of corruption against her will fall silent."

He admitted that there was no question that mistakes were made with the renewable heat scheme and "throughout the world mistakes are made by politicians and government officials without it amounting to a crisis with the potential of bringing down the political institutions." 

Mr Robinson called on all parties not to close off sensible options. 

He advised the politicians to "step back, take a breath".

There is space for an agreement "in the calmer times that follow the hustings," he said. 

Mr Robinson said that he had been determined not to provide a "running commentary" on political events since he stepped down.

However, his concern for the peace and stability was enough to make him take to Facebook. 

"The consequences of regression are many and may well be catastrophic. It must, therefore, be the duty of each of our elected representatives to embrace that essential value also enshrined in the Hippocratic Oath – primum non nocere (first, do no harm)."

The full Facebook post has been republished on Slugger.

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