Northern Ireland

First Minister Peter Robinson blames lifestyle for heart attack

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Media captionNorthern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson blamed snacks, fast food and a lack of exercise for his heart attack, rather than the stress of his job

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has blamed his lifestyle for the heart attack he suffered last week.

He was speaking at the Irish Open golf tournament in Newcastle, County Down, a day after he was discharged from hospital.

Mr Robinson said he was "feeling fine" after having stents inserted following his heart attack last Monday.

He said his health issues were nothing to do with the stress of his job, but blamed his diet and lack of exercise.

'Fast foods'

"I blame myself and nobody else but myself. The last emails that I was sending were at about four minutes to four in the morning and my men were timed to come at 7.30 to pick me up on that Monday morning, even though it was a bank holiday," he said.

"If you looked at my diet you would cringe - it's all around snacking and fast foods and all the things that you shouldn't do.

"Exercise? You're picked up from the door and dropped at the door, so it's all the worst lifestyle things."

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Image caption Peter Robinson attended the Irish Open, a day after being discharged from hospital

The 66-year-old paid tribute to the health professionals who treated him during his stay in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

'Really thankful'

"It's been a difficult time obviously, but it really is tremendous what they're capable of doing now in the RVH," he said.

"I really am thankful, right from the ambulance staff who had to work on [me] probably for about an hour before I was taken to Dundonald hospital, they tried to stabilise me and send me on to the Royal Victoria.

"I was given three stents that helped the flow of blood around the heart and had a further procedure on Thursday."

He said he would accept the secretary of state's invitation for talks at Stormont on Tuesday on the welfare reform crisis.

"I'll take it easy for the next couple of weeks. I've got a good team around me," he said.

"But I want to concentrate on the crisis issues. The secretary of state has asked party leaders to meet her. With respect to her I will go, but I do make it clear that we will not be renegotiating [the Stormont House Agreement]."

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