Northern Ireland news

Arlene Foster 'sad' at the manner in which she was 'taken out' of role

Arlene Foster has spoke of her sadness. Picture by Niall Carson, PA

OUTGOING First Minister Arlene Foster has spoken of her sadness at the manner in which she was "taken out" of her role.

Ms Foster also described the recent reshuffle by new leader Edwin Poots as "disappointing but not surprising" and said she believed it did not show signs of healing in the party.

She made the comments during a visit to the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast today.

"I've loved representing the people of Northern Ireland and I am of course feeling a mixture of emotions - sad that I was taken out of my position in the manner that I was taken out," she said.

"I’m excited by the opportunities.

"I’m 50 now as everybody famously knows so now is a good time to have a change."

Earlier this week, Mr Poots nominated Lagan Valley assembly member Paul Givan to replace Ms Foster as first minister.

But Ms Foster said she agreed with recent criticism of the DUP leader by outgoing Education Minister Peter Weir and Economy Minister Diane Dodds about the ministerial reshuffle.

"I was disappointed but not entirely surprised," she said.

She also said she believes the speaker of the assembly will accommodate her in making a personal statement on Monday before leaving her position as first minister.

She will also host the British-Irish Council in Co Fermanagh tomorrow, her last major political event as leader of the executive.

The summit is the first non-virtual leaders' gathering since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and will involve the heads of the devolved UK governments and Crown dependencies, such as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, meeting to discuss issues such as the coronavirus recovery.

"I think it's actually a nice circle to finish off my local political career in Co Fermanagh and to do it there is a great honour," Mrs Foster added.

Read more: Michael Gove pays tribute to ‘outstanding' Arlene Foster

Edwin Poots nominated Lagan Valley assembly member Paul Givan to replace Arlene Foster as First Minister

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