Peter Robinson has for the first time refused to give an interview to Northern Ireland’s unionist daily newspaper, the News Letter – but chose to speak to the Republic’s state broadcaster.
The First Minister, who leads the largest unionist party, gave no reason for not agreeing to speak to the readers of this newspaper.
Last week, Mr Robinson gave around a dozen media interviews, as is customary among all party leaders ahead of their annual conference each year.
The First Minister gave three interviews to the BBC as well as taking questions from UTV, RTE, the Press Association, The Irish Times, the Belfast Telegraph, Sky News, Downtown Radio and Fermanagh local newspaper The Impartial Reporter.
No reason was given for the DUP leader’s stance.
However, three weeks ago a senior aide to Peter Robinson unsuccessfully attempted to dissuade the News Letter from reporting that the First Minister was close to quitting.
The special adviser warned this newspaper that the talks process could be destabilised by our report – which was based on speaking to six DUP members, some of them very senior, who either wanted Mr Robinson to quit or believed that he would do so within weeks.
Mr Robinson’s refusal to be interviewed by the News Letter means that he was willing to be interviewed by only one of Northern Ireland’s three daily newspapers.
The First Minister has for some time refused to give interviews to the Irish News.