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Stormont questions over men who bankrolled Kirk McCambley's business

Questions have been tabled at Stormont on links between DUP politician Iris Robinson and the developers who bankrolled her teenage lover’s business.

And responsibility for replying to the written questions rests with Mrs Robinson’s long-time party colleague Edwin Poots, the Assembly Environment Minister.

The wife of First Minister Peter Robinson resigned her political positions this month, amid allegations about her private life and financial dealings.

It was revealed that she obtained £50,000 in 2008 from two property developers — Ken Campbell and the now deceased Fred Fraser — to bankroll the café business of her 19-year-old lover Kirk McCambley.

Mrs Robinson also lobbied around this same time in favour of a Newtownards housing scheme involving Mr Campbell.

In a written question to the DUP Environment Minister, Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay has asked “how many times since 2003 Mrs Iris Robinson made representations to the Planning Service in relation to planning applications which were submitted by Ken Campbell or an organisation to which he belongs”.

Mr Poots was also asked to list any such planning applications.

The Sinn Fein Assemblyman has further asked the minister to provide details of any representations made by Mrs Robinson since 2003 on planning applications “submitted by Fred Fraser or an organisation to which he belonged”.

In another written question, Mr McKay asked Mr Poots “if councillors are required to declare interests or significant gifts from a property developer if they are lobbying the Planning Service on behalf of that property developer”.

Mrs Robinson has now stepped down as a Castlereagh councillor, MLA and MP.

The Environment Minister will be expected to provide formal responses to the Sinn Fein MLA in forthcoming weeks.

The DUP has meanwhile still not disclosed if it received any donations from Mr Fraser, who was one of Northern Ireland’s biggest property tycoons.

It has been asked repeated questions on this subject by the Belfast Telegraph.

Ken Campbell last week confirmed being a DUP financial backer, saying he had made a one-off donation of £4,000-£5,000 to the party some years ago.

Mr Campbell's firm meanwhile sold a Newtownards office building to Peter and Iris Robinson in 2007, having bought the premises six months earlier.

Land Registry documents on the sale deal include reference to “the sum of £1”.

Mr Campbell and Mr Robinson have stressed that the full price of some £200,000 was paid and that the £1 reference reflected a “trust arrangement” in place at that time. No further details of this trust have been disclosed.

The office was subsequently sold last year to a consortium headed by businessman Adam Armstrong, whose Castlebawn retail development plans for Newtownards were strongly supported by Mrs Robinson over a number of years.

Belfast Telegraph