Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Timeline: Peter and Iris Robinson affair allegations

Kirk McCambley outside the Lock Keeper's Inn
Kirk McCambley had an affair with Iris Robinson, 40 years his senior

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson is coming under increased political pressure over allegations about his wife's financial affairs.

Iris Robinson used £50,000 obtained from two property developers to help her young lover start a business.

Here is a timeline of the allegations contained in a BBC programme which asked why the DUP leader did not tell the authorities his wife had not registered this money.

January 2008: Dr Selwyn Black begins working for DUP MP Iris Robinson as a political advisor. Two years later, allegations he makes about Mrs Robinson will lead to pressure being heaped on her husband, Northern Ireland's first minister Peter Robinson.

26 February 2008: Iris Robinson is shaken by the death of close friend Billy McCambley, an east Belfast butcher. Before his death, Mrs Robinson had promised him she would look after his only son Kirk, then aged 19. In the weeks and months that followed, the then-59-year-old would become increasingly close to Kirk McCambley and by the summer they were involved in a sexual relationship. Text messages from Mrs Robinson to Dr Black outline her blossoming romance with the teenager.

5 June 2008: Peter Robinson becomes Northern Ireland's first minister and DUP leader. He takes over both positions from the 82-year-old Ian Paisley, who had stood down in May.

6 June 2008: A day later, Iris Robinson's comments about gay people cause a massive outcry. She tells the BBC's Stephen Nolan that homosexuality is an "abomination" and that with help, gay people could be "turned around". Her comments were made in the same week that a gay man had been badly beaten in a homophobic attack.

June 2008: At the same time, the relationship between Iris Robinson and Kirk McCambley was growing more intense, and Mrs Robinson found a business opportunity for her young lover. Castlereagh Borough Council, on which she served, was advertising for a suitable tenant to run a café being built alongside a 200-year-old lock keepers' cottage on the banks of the River Lagan.

Mrs Robinson obtains a total of £50,000 from two property developers, Fred Fraser, now deceased, and Ken Campbell to fund the project. Kirk McCambley will later tell the BBC that after he received the money, Mrs Robinson asked him to give her £5,000 in cash.

July 2008: Six weeks after Castlereagh Borough Council advertised for expressions of interest in the cafe project, only one applicant meets the criteria - Kirk McCambley.

28 August 2008: The deal on the café tenancy is sealed. Iris Robinson is in attendance as the council authorises the signing of the lease. She does not declare her interest.

Autumn 2008: The relationship between Iris Robinson and Kirk McCambley ends. Mrs Robinson says she wants Mr McCambley to return the money.

18 December 2008: Iris Robinson and Kirk McCambley meet in Belfast for one last time to discuss the financial and emotional fallout of their break-up.

24 December 2008: Iris Robinson sends a text message to an increasingly annoyed Selwyn Black, explaining she wants Kirk McCambley to return the money. She asks him to obtain two cheques from Mr McCambley - one made out to her and one to the church she belongs to, Dundonald's Light 'n Life Church.

30 December 2008: In another text message sent from her holiday flat in Florida, Iris Robinson reiterates her request for two cheques. Selwyn Black responds: "Where is god in all of this?"

1 January 2009: Iris Robinson sends another message to Selwyn Black.

It reads: "This is just to allay any concerns. Money given to me on the promise of paying back one of them. The money was given to me on the promise of paying back one. The other didn't have the same condition placed on it. When given to Kirk he wept and wanted to share 50:50. I said no, I wanted nothing. At that particular time he was a young man I wanted to help because (his father) Billy couldn't and had so much wanted to.

"I agreed that one third of the profit each month to go to the church as a gesture of giving something back. I never intended this to be a buy off to God. it was an honest and honourable decision."

Mrs Robinson said she would be paying back all of property developer Ken Campbell's money. She said Fred Fraser was now deceased and was not to be paid back.

She added: "I had intended to release £1,000 per month to church as well as using it to clear the massive debt incurred by me over past year."

6 January 2009: Iris Robinson sends another text message, saying that all the money should instead be sent back to where it came from. She says she "decided along with Peter to make a clean break and give the monies to them instead of the church".

Selwyn Black later tells Spotlight that Peter Robinson was taking charge behind the scenes, directing her to repay the money. He says he didn't speak directly to Mr Robinson but during phone conversations he could hear him in the background prompting her.

14 January 2009: Peter Robinson distances himself from handing money back to Ken Campbell, according to a text message from Iris Robinson to Selwyn Black which read: "Selwyn, based on discussion Peter has decided not to be involved in handing over item. Just have solicitors send direct to K C please."

Referring to the text message, Mr Black told Spotlight: "He knows about this money, he knows about Fred Fraser's money, and he is attempting to keep his hands clean and saying this money must go back through solicitors."

1 March 2009: Peter Robinson finds out about his wife's affair, four months after it ended. In the early hours of 2 March, Iris Robinson attempts to take her own life.

2 March 2009: As Iris Robinson is treated in hospital, her husband is in Stormont fielding questions in his role as first minister.

30 December 2009: Iris Robinson announces she is quitting politics after admitting she is battling mental illness. Mrs Robinson will step down from her roles as an MP, an assembly member and a councillor. "The stress and strain of public life comes at a cost and my health has suffered," she says.

5 January 2010: After months of investigating, BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight programme puts a series of questions to Peter Robinson about his wife's financial affairs.

6 January 2010: Peter Robinson says his wife tried to kill herself while suffering depression after she had an affair. In a series of televised interviews, he says first learned of the affair on the night Mrs Robinson attempted suicide. He says he has forgiven Iris and they will attempt to save their marriage. He insists the revelations will not undermine his role as first minister.

7 January 2010: Allegations about Iris Robinson's financial affairs are contained in a BBC Northern Ireland current affairs programme. Claims made by Selwyn Black are at the heart of the Spotlight investigation. It also reveals Kirk McCambley's identity. The programme outlines rules broken by Iris and Peter's alleged conduct.

11 January 2010: Peter Robinson announces he is standing down as first minister for up to six weeks to be replaced by party colleague Arlene Foster.



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