Northern Ireland’s first minister resigns

Northern Ireland's first minister steps down over political crisis following murder of ex-IRA member

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

N. Irleand minister resigns as a result of the political crisis at Stormont

Updated Sep 11, 2015

Peter Robinson, Northern Irleand’s first minister and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) resigned on Thursday due to a political crisis which was provoked by the murder of ex-IRA man Kevin McGuigan.

"In light of the decision by republicans, nationalists and the Ulster Unionist Party to continue with business as usual in the assembly, I am therefore standing aside as first minister and other DUP ministers will resign with immediate effect with the exception of my colleague Arlene Foster," said Robinson. 

Robinson and DUP threatened to quit the Northern Ireland Assembly amid controversy that the party’s republican coalition partner Sinn Fein was complicit in the murder of an ex-member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). 

Former Provisional IRA member Kevin McGuigan Sr was shot dead in August in what was highly speculated to be a “punishment attack” after he was named as a suspect in the murder of his ex-colleague Gerard Jock Davison in May.

McGuigan’s murder was later linked to other former Provisional IRA members including Bobby Storey, the head of the Sinn Fein party’s northern branch. Storey was previously accused of being the head of the IRA’s intelligence in 2005.

Following the allegations, Storey and two other well-known republicans Eddie Copeland and alleged IRA army council member Brian Gillen was arrested in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Wednesday. 

However, on Thursday the three men were released unconditionally.

Storey's lawyer John Finucane wrote on Twitter that due to lack of evidence they will be suing for unlawful arrest.

During Robinson’s absence, Foster will take on the role of acting first minister.

TRTWorld and agencies