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Peter Robinson: Issues remain over Iris... but BBC was wrong

Peter Robinson has acknowledged that issues still remain unresolved from the scandal that engulfed his politician wife Iris at the beginning of this year.

He also confirmed that he hoped Mrs Robinson would be able to return to Northern Ireland in the next few months for continuing psychiatric care.

Mrs Robinson resigned her MP and MLA posts after details of an affair with a 19-year-old became public. A BBC Spotlight documentary also reported that she had secured £50,000 from two property developers to support her young lover's fledgling cafe business.

A police investigation into the First Minister's wife was launched following the broadcast and has yet to be concluded.

It is to be followed by an Assembly standards inquiry into both Mr and Mrs Robinson. This probe is expected to examine whether either of them should have declared details of the £50,000 in the register of interests for MLAs.

Asked by the Belfast Telegraph if he believed the £50,000 was declarable, Mr Robinson said: “I don't think that either you should be asking or I should be answering that question because there is a police investigation at the present time.”

He added: “There is a very real danger in people somehow beginning to believe that because Spotlight puts out a programme that what they say on it is accurate — and it wasn't.

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“Those matters, possibly after the police investigation is over, will become more clear.”

Mr Robinson also said he was not hiding from the fact that he had had a difficult time. He stressed he was working through it and was not being distracted from his job by personal issues.

He also said: “You're right, there are some issues still to be resolved and the sooner they are the happier I will be.”

Asked about the likelihood of Mrs Robinson returning to Northern Ireland and speculation about her giving public interviews, the First Minister said:

“She is receiving treatment at the current time. I've indicated that over the next number of months I hope that that treatment can be given in Northern Ireland, but it will be continuing treatment.

“I think there are three reasons why she will not want to make any remarks. First of all, she's a private individual. Secondly, there is a police investigation which has to be completed and thirdly she is continuing her treatment.”

Responding to the First Minister's comment on Spotlight, a BBC spokesperson said: “We are confident that the report was balanced and accurate.”

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