Northern Ireland leader Peter Robinson plans to retire in early 2016

The Protestant leader of Northern Ireland's power-sharing government, Peter Robinson, says he will retire from politics now that his coalition with Irish Catholic leaders has been restored to a firm foundation.

The 66-year-old leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, which represents the British territory's Protestant majority, plans to step down early next year as first minister of Northern Ireland's government and as Democratic Unionist leader. He has held both positions since 2008.

On Tuesday, Robinson and his Irish nationalist partner atop the government, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, announced an agreement soothing key disputes that had threatened to collapse their coalition.

Robinson's comments came in an interview published Thursday in the Belfast Telegraph ahead of his party's annual conference this weekend.