Taoiseach gets news of Robinson move before the NI public

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

News of Peter Robinson’s tactic of not himself resigning but choosing Arlene Foster to act in his place reached the Taoiseach before it reached most DUP voters.

The party once led by Ian Paisley saw the news leak out via a Dublin newspaper after the Taoiseach was informed.

Fiach Kelly, political correspondent of The Irish Times, broke the news on Twitter and it quickly made its way north before Mr Robinson made his statement.

Mr Kelly tweeted that Enda Kenny had told the Fianna Fail parliamentary party that Mrs Foster would take over as First Minister for six to eight weeks.

Mr Kelly followed that with the news that sources from the meeting of TDs indicated that Mr Kenny “expressed doubt about whether such an arrangement could work”.

Last night the Republic’s Foreign Minister, Charlie Flanagan, who is in Belfast for the current inter-party talks, said: ”I greatly regret the decision of the DUP to resign the majority of their ministerial seats and that of Peter Robinson to step aside as First Minister.

“What we want is for the devolved power-sharing Executive and Assembly to work as envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement and deliver peace, prosperity and reconciliation for the people of Northern Ireland.”

He added: “Following today’s serious developments, the power-sharing institutions are on the edge of the precipice.

“I urge Northern Ireland’s political leaders to take a step back and consider the gains achieved over recent years, the benefits to the people of Northern Ireland and what is now at stake.”