Belfast Telegraph

Iris Robinson back in public eye as she mourns her mother

By Sarah Rainey

Iris Robinson has made her first public appearance after quitting politics more than a year ago over her affair with teenager Kirk McCambley.

Mrs Robinson joined mourners at Bethany Free Presbyterian Church in Co Armagh for the funeral of her mother, Marie Malloy, yesterday afternoon.

The former Strangford MP appeared gaunt but composed as she greeted family members and friends.

It was the first sighting of her in nearly 16 months since she withdrew from public life after lurid details about her affair hit the headlines.

She resigned from the DUP in late 2009 on grounds of mental illness and is currently receiving treatment for depression.

First Minister Peter Robinson has said his wife is too ill to attend the Royal wedding later this month.

Dressed in a black jacket and matching long skirt, Mrs Robinson stayed close to her husband during her low-key appearance at the service.

The disgraced ex-politician had a yellow flower tucked in her lapel and her auburn hair was neatly tied back.

She maintained a respectful distance from the road outside the small Portadown church, where local residents had stopped to pay their respects.

At one point Mrs Robinson seemed to glance nervously towards parked cars on the street before touching her husband’s arm and disappearing from view.

She smiled as she spoke to Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and the pair embraced on the steps of the church.

They were joined by a number of senior DUP politicians, including deputy leader Nigel Dodds, Edwin Poots and local MP David Simpson.

Mrs Robinson’s five siblings, sister Marlene and brothers Ernest, Cecil, Desmond and Robin, were also in attendance.

The Robinsons sat at the front of the church during the service, which was led by the Rev Kenneth Elliott, who paid tribute to Iris and her sister.

“We think of the girls who had tended to their mother so much and loved her so much,” he said in his sermon.

Mrs Malloy (90), who lived at Edenderry Fold in Portadown, had been in poor health before her death on Monday.

The family accompanied the coffin in a cortege for a private burial at the nearby Kernan cemetery.

Background

Iris Robinson, wife of First Minister Peter Robinson, quit politics in late-2009 after her affair with 19-year-old Kirk McCambley was made public. The former Strangford MP had secured £50,000 to help her ex-lover set up a café in south Belfast. It has since emerged that she will not face charges over the scandal. Mrs Robinson left the DUP and has not been seen in public for nearly 16 months.

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