Northern Ireland, normally in the news for sectarian and political tensions, was on Friday struggling to deal with the fallout of a sex and financial scandal involving its “first” couple.
Peter Robinson, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and head of Northern Ireland’s coalition government, was under growing pressure to quit after his wife, Iris — an MP and a local councillor — confessed to an extra-marital affair and was then accused of breaking parliamentary rules by not declaring £50,000 she reportedly raised from two property developers to help her former lover start a business.
Rules require members to declare their business interests in an official register. The allegation, made in a BBC documentary, came weeks after Ms. Robinson (60), a mother of three, caused a stir when she confessed that she had a brief affair with a 19-year-old man 18 months ago and then tried to kill herself as a result of deep depression.
The programme identified her ex-lover as Kirk McCambley, now 21, and owner of a cafe in south Belfast. It claimed that Ms. Robinson obtained £50,000 from two developers to provide Mr. McCambley with capital to open the café. Mr. McCambley confirmed receiving money from her.