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Robinson procured money from two developers to help Kirk McCambley (pictured) open the Lock Keeper's Inn

Robinson procured money from two developers to help Kirk McCambley (pictured) open the Lock Keeper's Inn

Robinson procured money from two developers to help Kirk McCambley (pictured) open the Lock Keeper's Inn

Castlereagh Borough Council was last night due to hold an official meeting to instigate an investigation into allegations surrounding Councillor Iris Robinson's business dealings.

Last week it was reported by the BBC Spotlight programme that while a councillor, MP and MLA, Mrs Robinson procured money from two developers to help her teenage lover open the Lock Keeper's Inn cafe in south Belfast.

Councillor Robinson then attended the August 2008 Castlereagh Council meeting during which the cafe lease was awarded to Kirk McCambley. Spotlight alleged Cllr Robinson broke the code of conduct by failing to declare a financial interest.

Following the programme, the council then, last Friday, said it had held a cross party meeting where “the acting chief executive was instructed to instigate a full investigation”.

So far it is not known what sort of investigation will be held but its terms of reference were to be agreed at the special council meeting last night, as the CT went to press.

Meanwhile, according to Castlereagh Council’s August 2008 minutes, Mr McCambley was awarded a seven-month rent free period worth just over £4,000 to run the cafe and did not have to pay for catering equipment worth almost £6,500.

These conditions were approved based on the recommendations of officials in July 2008.

Before last night’s meeting one council group said it would be pushing for a full independent investigation.

Councillor Geraldine Rice said: “I have written as Castlereagh Alliance Group Leader to the Comptroller and Auditor General to seek assurances that they will conduct a full independent inquiry into matters relating to Castlereagh Council. I said in the letter that given the seriousness of this issue, an investigation must take place immediately.”

The Robinson allegations

  • 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.


Belfast Telegraph