Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Ards constituents react to the Robinson saga

Disgraced: Strangford MP Iris Robinson

The ongoing saga involving First Minister Peter Robinson and his wife Iris Robinson MP is providing great debate in her Strangford constituency.

The CT spoke to shoppers outside Ards Shopping Centre this week to gauge opinion on the current situation which is hitting the headlines across Northern Ireland and beyond.

Lilian Proudfoot described the unfolding drama as “sad”.

“I think she was very foolish but she has been a very good MP and will be missed,” she said.

“However I think the DUP will be ok when the next election comes around.”

Elizabeth Wallace said the DUP would find it difficult to retain its seat in Strangford, which Mrs Robinson is vacating, because of her actions.

“I do feel sorry for her because it could happen to anyone but in the end she did bring it on herself," she said.

Stephen Kearney said he also felt sorry for Mrs Robinson and described her as a “very good MP”.

“This is a private and personal matter and I am not going to judge her,” he said.

June Brown also said it was a private matter for the Robinson family to discuss.

“I would like them to get on with it and sort themselves out,” she said.

“Iris was an ok MP and whoever replaces her needs to do a good job for the people here.”

The growing list of allegations facing the Robinsons

  • Iris Robinson, 59, began a relationship with 19-year-old Kirk McCambley having promised to look out for him after the death of his father;
  • Iris told her employee Selwyn Black she was going to set McCambley up in business;
  • Iris Robinson identified The Lock-Keeper’s Inn cafe as a potential business for her young lover;
  • Mrs Robinson secured £50,000 from two well-known property developers — Ken Campbell and Fred Fraser (now deceased) to help fund McCambley;
  • She asked for a £5,000 cut for herself;
  • Iris was present when Castlereagh Borough Council authorised the signing of The Lock-Keeper’s Inn lease for Kirk;
  • Iris broke the code of conduct by failing to declare a financial interest when the council approved Kirk McCambley to run the cafe;
  • When the relationship with McCambley ended in acrimony, Iris demanded the £45,000 back;
  • Iris demanded two separate cheques — one made out in her name and the other made payable to the Light and Life Methodist Church, where Peter Robinson’s sister is a pastor;
  • She later decided that the money should be returned to developer Ken Campbell;
  • When Peter Robinson found out about his wife’s financial dealings, he insisted that the money should go back from whence it came;
  • The First Minister ordered that all the money be returned to the developers with nothing going to the church;
  • During at least two phonecalls from their holiday home in Florida, Selwyn Black heard the First Minister “on Iris’ arm” telling his wife what to say;
  • The First Minister failed to inform the relevant authorities about the transaction — despite being obliged to act in the public interest by the ministerial code;
  • Our sister paper, the Sunday Life, alleged that Mrs Robinson has had three lovers at different times — Mr McCambley, a shopkeeper in east Belfast, and an unidentified fellow DUP member.


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