Arlene Foster gives farewell speech as she stands down as First Minister (report)

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Arlene Foster gives farewell speech as she stands down as First Minister (report)
Arlene Foster gives farewell speech as she stands down as First Minister (report)

Arlene Foster has made her farewell speech in the Northern Ireland Assembly as she prepares to formally step down as First Minister.

Her departure follows a bruising internal battle for power within the DUP that saw her successor Edwin Poots criticised over how the transfer was handled.

Speaking in the Northern Ireland Assembly just after noon on Monday, Mrs Foster began by promising not to to burst into song.

“All periods of leadership must come to an end, that is why when we are privileged, and indeed honoured, with holding such a position we must not waste such a moment in frivolous brinkmanship but rather forge ahead on behalf of those we represent.”

She added that while she would miss her role, she was looking forward to “fresh challenges”.

“This will be my last speech in this form, but I very much plan to continue to speak up on behalf of women in public life as well as our children by seeking better protections for everyone on social media.”

Mrs Foster joked that she had been advised to deliver her speech in form of comedy character Father Ted Crilly, when he settles old scores after receiving the Golden Cleric award.

“But after a moment of reflection, I thought perhaps not…suffice to say, just like all politicians who resign I will now spend more time with my family. My lovely mum, my darling husband and my three beloved children will see more of me whether they like it or not.

“It’s just as well Mr Speaker, I am such a good daughter, wife and mother. Those of us in public life know that we cannot fully function without the support of our loved ones and I’ve had that support in abundance.”

She passed on her good wishes to her successors as party leader and First Minister (Edwin Poots and the soon to be nominated Paul Givan) as well as thanking those in “the naughty corner” of the Assembly who had wished her well.

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