Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson is recovering in a hospital after a suspected heart attack. Robinson, 66, is undergoing tests at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital following his admission to a hospital in Dundonald earlier Monday. The leader of the conservative, pro-U.K. Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Robinson shares executive power as the head of Northern Ireland's regional government.
"Mr. Robinson underwent a procedure this morning and is currently recovering," said a Royal Victoria Hospital representative quoted by the Guardian in the U.K.
A DUP representative said Robinson "felt unwell this morning and has been admitted to the hospital for some further tests."
Leading British and Irish political figures expressed their sympathies for Robinson and his wife. "My thoughts and prayers are with him, Iris and family,” tweeted Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, a member of the republican Sinn Fein party who shares executive power with Robinson. Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams also expressed his concern, while U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted, "I hope he has a speedy recovery."
Robinson became first minister and leader of the DUP in 2008, when Ian Paisley stepped down from both positions.
The health scare comes at a politically turbulent time for Robinson's party, which supports controversial regional welfare cuts supported by the British Parliament and opposed by Sinn Fein. The Northern Ireland Assembly is slated to debate the proposed budgetary reforms Tuesday. Robinson has warned that the region's assembly could collapse unless the relevant bill is approved. Westminster has said a failure to produce a budget threatens the Stormont House Agreement, a deal between the British and Irish governments that covers the region's delicate political arrangements and its ties to the U.K.