Civil servants impressed by ‘crafty’ Robinson but lamented SDLP

Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson

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Peter Robinson’s fearsome political abilities were recognised by the head of the civil service in 1985 during an American conference at which unionists were judged to have demolished their nationalist opponents’ arguments.

The Airlie House Conference, convened by Professor Padraig O’Malley in Virginia, brought together unionists, nationalists and representatives of the British and Irish governments.

Mr Robinson, then a 36-year-old DUP MP and deputy leader, was joined in America by party colleagues Jim Allister and Sammy Wilson.


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