Sir Jeffrey Donaldson in happy mood in the White House on St. Patrick's Day.

EDITORIAL: A Shocking Turn

As political earthquakes go on the island of Ireland this was as high up on the scale as you'll get. That's because the earthquake went far beyond just politics.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson's sudden fall from grace had nothing to do with politics, his party, or the aftermath of his leading the DUP back into power sharing government.

Rather, it involved criminal charges of a most heinous kind: "non-recent sexual offences."

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Just days before the PSNI came knocking on Donaldson's door, on Holy Thursday, the DUP leader had been enjoying the acclaim of many in Washington, D.C. gathered for St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

On St. Patrick's Day itself Donaldson, together with party colleagues, was a guest of the president for the annual White House celebration.

Just days later, all would change for the man and his party. The charges were leveled on Thursday, March 28 and became known to the broader world the following day, Good Friday.

There is nothing good about all of this, of course. But regardless of what follows it is vital that the power sharing Assembly and Executive continues to function as the Democratic Unionist Party sorts out its internal issues arising from this shocking situation, and the legal process follows its due course.