Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Under siege in a thronged cafe, Kirk McCambley's life has changed forever

By Lindsay Fergus

Published 09/01/2010 | 00:00

Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Kirk McCambley was aged 19 when he had an affair with Iris Robinson
Iris Robinson, pictured with her husband and Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter 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

The storm clouds were gathering in one of the photos on the wall of Kirk McCambley's cafe. The image featured a white sailing ship at full tilt careering through the growing waves.

Customers exchanged knowing glances as Iris Robinson's 19-year-old toyboy lover yesterday worked busily behind the counter serving up lattes at the Lock Keeper's Inn — less than 10 hours after he found himself at the centre of a political scandal.

Still boyish-looking, it was evident that despite his bravado the now 21-year-old had not emerged from the saga unscathed.

Even the odd smile could not hide the pale, unshaven face and heavy, red eyes, undoubtedly the result of a restless night’s sleep.

Mr McCambley, with his gelled dark hair, dressed in a black shirt and trousers with a black apron, spent much of the time outside fielding calls on his mobile phone, and when asked about the controversy simply smiled wanly, said “no comment” and shook hands.

But less than four hours after opening up the business, shortly before noon, the young man with all eyes on him made his escape, gingerly making his way across the stone bridge, over the river and across the frozen snow to a waiting red Renault Megane.

Several hours later he had not returned, leaving his nervous young staff to run things. His location remained, like the man himself, a mystery, and once again it was stated that he would not be issuing a statement.

Not surprisingly, yesterday the packed cafe did a roaring trade with even little old ladies braving the snow-laden towpath to catch a glimpse of the now famous Kirk McCambley.

While the lure of hot drinks when temperatures were as low as -4C made a seat in the small cafe an attractive proposition, many of those who thronged it were lured by something more than cappuccinos and muffins.

Janice Richards (33), a full-time mother from south Belfast, said: “It is just such a surprise, to think with someone so young.”

Another female diner, who declined to be named, said: “I just came here for something to eat. The programme (BBC Spotlight which made allegations about Strangford MP Iris) has certainly created a stir.”

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