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McGuinness urges Robinson to talk about £5 land deal

Published 01/04/2010

Iris and Peter Robinson at their home in Belfast. 18/4/89.
Iris and Peter Robinson at their home in Belfast. 18/4/89.
Iris and Peter Robinson at their home Gransha Rd Belfast. 18/4/89.
Iris Robinson, pictured with her husband and Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson
No golden goodbye payment for Iris Robinson, it has emerged
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson leaves DUP headquarters in east Belfast last night
Iris and Peter Robinson pictured on their wedding day
Newly elected DUP MP Peter Robinson and his wife Iris. 4/5/1979
Peter Robinson shares a kiss with wife Iris in the First Minister's office at Stormont
Iris and Peter Robinson
Iris Robinson has said she tried to kill herself after making a midnight confession to her husband that she had an affair
Iris Robinson
First Minister Peter Robinson
Iris Robinson
Parade participants with a cutout of Iris Robinson. The Strangford MP's recent comments regarding homosexuality were a focal point for some marchers
First Minister Peter Robinson (right) and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at a press conference in Stormont Castle
Peter Robinson
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson is under pressure to quit

Martin McGuinness has added to the pressure on Peter Robinson by claiming the DUP leader has questions to answer over his involvement in a £5 land deal.

The Deputy First Minister said he wanted to hear an explanation from the First Minister after it emerged the deal was instrumental in allowing the Robinsons to make hundreds of thousands of pounds from selling their garden.

Mr Robinson and his wife Iris bought the Fort Road strip for just £5 from late property developer Fred Fraser in April 2005.

A year and a half later the Robinsons sold the land — which was within a proposed housing development and close to their back garden — for the same price to another developer.

That developer bought part of the back garden of their Gransha Road home for almost £460,000 — the same day the Robinsons sold the strip to the company — the ‘gateway’ to the proposed development. The strip was considered valuable because its worth was tied in with other plots in the proposed housing scheme.

Professional valuers told the BBC it would have been worth around £75,000 at the time the Robinsons bought it and at least £220,000 when they sold it.

Last night, Mr McGuinness said he wanted to hear an explanation from the First Minister.

“I think, like everyone else, we will wait to hear what he has to say about this. He hasn't yet spoken and I think we are best only to pass judgment in the aftermath of hearing what his view is.”

A DUP spokesman hit out at the Deputy First Minister saying the public was “more interested in the questions Martin McGuinness has to answer about his involvement in the IRA's terrorist campaign” than they were about “any questions” he was asking others.

Earlier in a statement the party said its leader sold his land and that there were no tax implications.

“The sliver of land was bought for £5 and sold for £5, a fact that has never been hidden, and Mr Robinson derived no financial benefit whatsoever from the transaction. There were a number of other access possibilities and the sliver of land was not essential for access.”

Yesterday, a further DUP statement said that “Mr Robinson was not present at any meetings where issues about the planning approval for this land were raised.

“No registration was considered necessary as no financial gain was accrued and the sliver in question was purchased for £5.”

While the DUP has insisted its leader has nothing to answer, the revelations have raised more questions about the Robinson’s links with the now deceased Mr Fraser.

Belfast Telegraph

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