DUP: Arlene Foster sad at way she was 'taken out' of position

Arlene Foster

image copyrightReuters

Outgoing First Minister Arlene Foster said she feels “sad” at the manner in which she was “taken out of my position”.

She said Edwin Poots’ ministerial reshuffle does not show signs of healing, but that she was “not entirely surprised”.

Mrs Foster said she thinks the speaker of the NI Assembly will accomodate her in making a personal statement.

Mrs Foster will host the British-Irish Council in County Fermanagh on Friday.

“I’ve loved representing the people of Northern Ireland and I am of course feeling a mixture of emotions – sad that I was taken out of my position in the manner that I was taken out,” Mrs Foster said on Thursday, following a visit to the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast.

Mrs Foster said the British-Irish Council was a “nice circle to finish off my local political career” in County Fermanagh.

She said Mr Poots would be there in his capacity as agriculture minister “in my team”.

Asked if she would make a final address to the assembly, Mrs Foster replied: “I think that the speaker is going to accommodate me in making a personal statement.

“I haven’t spoken to the speaker yet, but hopefully I’ll speak to him in the near future.”

Mr Poots on Tuesday nominated Lagan Valley assembly member Paul Givan to replace Mrs Foster as first minister.

Paul Givan

image copyrightLiam McBurney

The move is contingent upon Sinn Féin support.

Once Mrs Foster resigns, deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill also steps down as it is a joint office.

There is then a seven-day period allowed for the approval of a new first minister and deputy first minister by power-sharing partners Sinn Féin and the DUP.

Asked if the British-Irish Council would be her last event as first minister, Mrs Foster said she “might” do something on Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, on a visit to Northern Ireland on Thursday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove paid tribute to Mrs Foster and said he believed that Mr Poots would always put the interests of the people of Northern Ireland first.

He said he had worked with the new DUP leader previously and looked forward to continuing to do so.