Robinson offers support to Paisley Jnr

Robinson offers support to Paisley Jnr

Peter Robinson has given his backing to Ian Paisley Junior after the North Antrim MP's father criticised the DUP's current leadership and the way in which he left the party.

Ian Paisley, now Lord Bannside, in a BBC interview with journalist Eamonn Mallie, levelled criticism at senior members of his party and in particular his successor, Peter Robinson, for the way in which he claims he was forced to step down as leader.Since the revelations, his son, Ian Paisley Junior, has remained tight-lipped on the matter.However, on Thursday, Mr Robinson acknowledged the difficult position the broadcast had put him in.The DUP leader said: "I think Ian Jnr is in a difficult position and I hope [the media] won't make it any more difficult for him. I certainly don't intend to."I give my advice as a father rather than as party leader or First Minister and I don't think he should do or say anything which makes his relationship with his family more difficult."That's a very important element for him, particularly at this stage of his parents' lives."Mr Robinson was asked if the interview would affect his relationship with the North Antrim MP.He added: "It will not affect any relationship he has with me and I hope he gets that message and doesn't come under pressure from people [in the media]."Mr Robinson was talking at the launch of a scheme which helps tackle youth unemployment and was joined by Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness.The Deputy First Minister said he remained in contact with Ian Paisley with whom he shared power, but would not comment on DUP internal politics.He added: "I'm still friendly with Ian Paisley at this time, we still keep in contact and I want to continue to remember the good times and the history making developments we were involved in."On the Haass process, Mr McGuinness said the talks could not continue on for months.He continued: "I certainly have a sense that if we are going to see a significant successful outcome to the present exploration that is taking place it really needs to take place in weeks rather than months."My sense of it is if we are not going to see progress over the next three weeks or so, it is very unlikely we are going to see anything after that."However, Mr Robinson said the talks which are dealing with the issues of the past, parades and flags, could not be rushed.He added: "Martin McGuinness does not control the timetable of the process."


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