Northern Ireland's new First Minister

Tom Griffin
6 June 2008

Tom Griffin (London, The Green Ribbon): Peter Robinson is the new First Minister of Northern Ireland, after a Stormont vote today which also re-elected Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister.
As a result of the last minute doubts about Robinson's nomination the two men will be taking part in Downing Street talks tomorrow.

The talks, carefully balanced to address the concerns of both the DUP and Sinn Fein and due to be chaired by Gordon Brown, will also deal with Irish language legislation, parading, the economy and investment strategy.

And, according to senior sources, the discussions — the second meeting with the Prime Minister in four days — could stretch into next week following an outline agreement hammered out between the two parties late yesterday.

It will be interesting to see what scope there is for compromise now that Robinson has the nomination in the bag. Do the week's events add up to an astute use of leverage by Sinn Féin, or a bluff that has been called?

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