Gerry Adams pays tribute to ‘pragmatic’ Peter Robinson

Sinn Féin leader says the two men had a ‘business-like, cordial’ working relationship

A file image of outgoing DUP  leader Peter Robinson   (right) beside Sinn Féin leader  Gerry Adams.  Mr Adams said Mr Robinson  was a  ‘straightforward politician’. 	Photograph: The Irish Times

A file image of outgoing DUP leader Peter Robinson (right) beside Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. Mr Adams said Mr Robinson was a ‘straightforward politician’. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has paid tribute to Democratic Unionist Party leader Peter Robinson who confirmed on Thursday that he is to step down.

Mr Robinson made his announcement days after the Stormont House deal was agreed.

Mr Adams said the party will continue to work with the DUP regardless of who is leader.

He denied it would have any implications on the Stormont House agreement.

Mr Adams said Mr Robinson had made a personal decision which he respected.

He said: “The imperative is for the process to work. The DUP needs to be given the space to elect its new leader whoever he or she may be. They have a job of work to do.”

“Everybody realises we can’t do it without each other.”

Mr Robinson on Thursday confirmed he would step down, though not immediately, and expected a succession process to begin early next year before regional elections in May.

The 66-year-old, who has been in politics in Northern Ireland for 40 years, spoke of the “massive pressures” on anybody in the job.

Mr Adams denied there was a frosty relationship between Mr Robinson and Sinn Féin.

Mr Adams described Mr Robinson as a respectful leader and said they had a “business-like, cordial relationship”.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Mr Robinson was always “a pragmatic and straightforward politician who was serious about moving Northern Ireland forward”.

He said: “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. We wish him and his family well in his retirement.”