Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Council gets Iris Robinson lover's lease report

Kirk McCambley

The official probe into the granting of a Castlereagh council lease to Iris Robinson's former lover is to be debated tonight - behind closed doors.

Borough councillors have agreed to go into committee to receive the full, final report on the award of the lease to run the Lock Keeper's Cafe to Kirk McCambley.

One aim of the inquiry has been to establish whether Mrs Robinson, who resigned as an MP, Assembly Member and councillor, was present during the committee meeting when the lease was decided and didn't declare an interest.

Castlereagh SDLP councillor Brian Hanvey hoped the full report would be put into the public domain "as soon as possible."

"I don't see any reason why it should not be made public, but this meeting will be the first opportunity that councillors will have had to see it. We were only given a verbal briefing on it before."

The day after that briefing in May it was revealed councillors had not been given copies of the report by consultants, Deloitte.

Then a month later it emerged councillors were being asked more questions in relation to Mrs Robinson's movements on the night that the lease was approved.

Deloitte emailed councillors asking if they had any recollection of Mrs Robinson leaving the council meeting at which the contract was awarded, and at what point in the agenda that might have coincided with.

A council statement, after the May briefing, said there was no evidence of financial loss "or any impropriety by council officers of members directly involved in the assessment panel regarding the award of the lease".

Significantly, the council's spokeswoman then disclosed that Mrs Robinson did not sit on the assessment panel.

Background

Castlereagh Borough Council commissioned a report after it was revealed Iris Robinson secured two £25,000 loans to help her then lover raise capital to run the Lock Keeper's Inn near Shaw's Bridge. Mrs Robinson was on the council at the time when the lease for the inn was awarded in 2008.

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz