Northern Ireland

Peter Robinson: Politicians and key figures react to his resignation

Peter Robinson

Key figures and politicians are responding to the news that Peter Robinson will be stepping down from his role as Northern Ireland's first minister and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State

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"Peter has been a central figure in Northern Ireland politics for over four decades.

"In his long and distinguished record of public service, both in the House of Commons and the Assembly, he has championed the interests of Northern Ireland with unparalleled effectiveness, determination and dedication.

"Peter was key to the agreement reached this week and he can be rightly proud of his contribution.

Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister

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"I have never hated Peter Robinson. I don't think Peter Robinson hates me.

"I think we have developed a good working relationship over the years, albeit we come from different allegiances.

"Despite our political differences, I recognise fully the enormous personal contribution Peter has made, building on the work of his predecessor, Dr Paisley."

Charlie Flanagan, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

"I was very sad to learn this morning of Peter Robinson's intention to retire from politics in the near future.

"From my own direct experience of working closely with Peter, I wish to acknowledge his leading role in bringing stability to the political institutions in Northern Ireland, which was most recently demonstrated in the 'Fresh Start' Agreement of which he was a key architect.

Nigel Dodds, DUP deputy leader

"Mere words cannot convey the enormity of the thanks owed to Peter by the DUP and by everyone who values progress in Northern Ireland.

"Peter has been a towering figure in the DUP since its foundation. He has dedicated his life to the defence of the union and to building a better life for our people. He can be justifiably proud of what he has achieved in helping secure those objectives.

Arlene Foster, Finance Minister

"The DUP, unionism and Northern Ireland owe a huge debt of gratitude to Peter for his 40 years of unstinting public service. He is without equal within unionism for his strategic ability to chart a course through many difficult periods in our province.

"His strategic vision, calm reflection and decisive decision-making, will mark him out as something very special.

Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin leader

"I wish to extend thanks and best wishes to Peter Robinson and his family and good luck for the future.

"Sinn Féin will continue to work with the DUP and Peter's successor and with the other political parties as part of the effort to deliver on the recent agreement and to resolve outstanding issues from other agreements."

Colum Eastwood, SDLP leader

"His early career was forged as a right-leaning, hardline unionist so it's unsurprising that we don't have much political common ground.

"But despite our disagreements, on a human level it's clear to see that he has had a very difficult time personally and with his health.

David Ford, Alliance leader

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"He has clearly played a very significant part in Northern Ireland politics, some might say in the early years he was quite detrimental.

"In recent years he's been more positive but whether we've really established power sharing as opposed to power carve ups, that's an open question."

Lord Morrow, Chairman of DUP

"As party leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland he has lead our party and our country through some of the most delicate and difficult phases of the political process.

"There were times when lesser men would have given up and simply walked away, but Peter endured and has worked hard for the people of Northern Ireland. His contribution to Ulster society has been immense.

Bertie Ahern, Former Irish prime minster

"He was the strategist in the DUP for many years, so he was masterminding the process of bringing the party into being a centre party in trying to move the 1998 Good Friday Agreement forward.

"Of course he was controversial in the earlier period as far as we were concerned in the Republic, but I would far rather remember the role he has played over the last 15 to 16 years.

Brid Rodgers, former SDLP deputy leader

"I think in the latter years he has certainly tried to be more inclusive and he's tried to bring things forward, although at various times the messages have been very mixed.

"Looking back at when times were difficult and when Northern Ireland was in very troubled times, I think the role he played at that time was not helpful, to put it mildly.

Gavin Robinson, East Belfast MP

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"His foresight has, without question or contradiction, delivered a Northern Ireland that can move forward confidently, with a sense of pride and purpose; and an overarching resolve never to repeat again.

"He is without doubt a major loss to both our party and unionism but I trust he will be able to enjoy an easier pace of life while still assisting us in the days that lie ahead."

Jim Allister, TUV leader

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"He probably learnt from his predecessor about not overstaying his welcome. I think he had the wit to go before he was pushed.

"I am saddened for him and for Northern Ireland that his legacy is to confirm IRA/Sinn Féin in government.

Ulster Unionist Party statement

"We wish Peter a long and healthy retirement. Meanwhile, he remains First Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive at a time when we share the ambition of seeing Stormont delivering positive outcomes for all our people. We will continue to engage positively with that objective in mind."

Micheál Martin, Fianna Fáil leader

"I always found him to be a pragmatic and straightforward politician who was serious about moving Northern Ireland forward.

"In his role as deputy leader to Ian Paisley and then as the leader of his party and Northern Ireland's first minister, there is no doubt that he made a significant contribution to the journey that the island of Ireland has been on.

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