Northern Ireland news

Birthday greetings for Arlene Foster as DUP leader turns 50

Arlene Foster who turns 50
Brendan Hughes

ARLENE Foster received a host of birthday greetings yesterday as the First Minister turned 50.

DUP members shared warm well-wishes and old pictures with their party leader as they marked her milestone birthday.

Mrs Foster was expected to enjoy the occasion yesterday evening by spending time with her family.

Stormont education minister Peter Weir, who was at Queen's University Belfast around the same time as Mrs Foster, was among those who offered birthday greetings online.

"Best wishes to my old friend of over 30 years and boss Rt hon Arlene Foster MLA on her 50th birthday, enjoying her special day with her family," the DUP Strangford MLA said on Facebook.

DUP South Belfast MLA and principal deputy speaker of the assembly Christopher Stalford shared a smiling photo of himself with Mrs Foster.

He wrote on Facebook: "Happy 50th birthday to my friend and boss Arlene Foster. Many happy returns of the day Arlene!"

Sending her birthday wishes to Mrs Foster, DUP Fermanagh and Omagh councillor Deborah Erskine tweeted: "Sending you lots of love and hope you have a great day. Thank you for all you do."

Mrs Erskine included in the Twitter post a photo of herself and her husband on their wedding day with Mrs Foster, and an image of her with the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA at a party conference.

Last month, the DUP leader was drawn into clarifying the exact date of her birthday after it was claimed online that it coincided with the reopening of pubs.

In response to news that July 3 was Stormont's planned date to reopen hotels, bars and cafes in a relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, a BBC politics producer tweeted: "On Arlene Foster's 50th birthday."

With the message gaining traction online, Mrs Foster replied: "A couple of weeks early... Big 50 not until July 17. Don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia," and included a laughing emoji.

Responding with his own laughing emoji, the BBC journalist tweeted: "Actually read it on RTÉ."

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