Peter David Robinson


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Ian Paisley (b. 1926) Northern Irish clergyman and politician, First Minister of Northern Ireland 2007–8


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(b. Belfast, Northern Ireland, 29 Dec. 1948)

British; Northern Ireland First Minister 2008–  Dominated by the Unionist Party (later the Ulster Unionist Party, UUP) in Peter Robinson's youth, Northern Ireland faced violent struggles between unionists and a reinvigorated IRA following the 1960s civil rights movement. In 1971 Robinson was a founder member of Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which advocated a more extreme form of unionism than the UUP. Having begun work as an estate agent Robinson moved into politics, becoming the DUP's General Secretary in 1975. He won many elections, the first being for Castlereagh Borough Council in 1977; Robinson narrowly beat the UUP candidate for the Westminster seat of Belfast East in 1979. He became DUP deputy leader in 1980 and a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1982. Robinson was one of many unionists who objected to the terms of the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, which had been intended to bring an end to the Troubles, and he resigned his Westminster seat, retaking it in the subsequent by-election. He persistently opposed peace measures requiring negotiation with Republicans, regarding Sinn Féin as virtually identical to the IRA. Robinson opposed talks which culminated in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and led to the formation of the new Northern Ireland Assembly, but he stood for the Assembly and became Minister for Regional Development, although he refused to attend meetings. Following the suspension of devolution in 2002 amid accusations of IRA spying, Robinson was instrumental in talks which led to the re-establishment of Northern Ireland's Assembly and Executive in 2007. Following Ian Paisley's retirement, Peter Robinson finally emerged from his leader's ample shadow and became First Minister in 2008.

Subjects: Politics.

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