After Iris, Peter Robinson is finished

The downfall of Northern Ireland’s mini political dynasty looks to be upon us.  Iris Robinson, wife of First Minister Peter Robinson, stands accused of failing to declare her financial interest in a business venture, for which she arranged the financing, while sitting on the local council that in turn then awarded a contract to her teenage lover, Kirk McCambley, in 2008.

The real-life Mrs Robinson, having been caught in her attempt to make money on the side from the deal she helped broker for her young love interest and failing to declare her substantial interest in the matter, dived for cover behind the excuse of suffering from “mental illness” through depression when it became clear the story was going to break.

With Mrs Robinson’s career almost certainly set to be destroyed by the allegations, commentators are now speculating whether Peter Robinson will be forced to resign too.  It is alleged that when he learned about his wife’s affair and financial dealings with Benjamin Braddock Kirk McCambley, Mr Robinson ordered the money to be repaid, but crucially failed to report it to the authorities.  If proven to be true, that would make his position untenable and throw the Democratic Unionist Party into disarray.

For now Mr Robinson is trying to tough it out and says he’s staying put.  But how long will he continue to dig his heels in if the media decides it wants to take his scalp?  For many years residents living near the Robinsons in the close knit community of East Belfast have gossiped allegations that he has on occasions assaulted his wife during their marriage.  There is no doubt the press know about the rumours but in discreet French fashion they have refused to report about them.

The question now is will the press change its mind in order to bring about Mr Robinson’s political demise?

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