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Where have you gone, Mrs. Robinson? Sex scandal hits Northern Ireland, endangering peace pact

January 11, 2010 |  9:53 am

Irelands first couple, Peter Robinson and his wife
The Ticket does not normally reach out to Northern Ireland for political news, but a sex scandal there is rocking the country -- and raising eyebrows internationally.

It seems that Iris Robinson, the glamorous 60-year-old wife of leader Peter Robinson and a lawmaker in her own right, maintained a sexual relationship with then Kirk McCambley, then 19 years old, in 2008. Then, according to reports, she helped him open up a coffee shop by giving him money secretly lent her by a pair of property developers.

As Times reporter Henry Chu reported from London, the affair could knock Peter Robinson out of office -- and endanger the province's fragile peace pact between Roman Catholics and Protestants.

Apparently there was lots of public sympathy for Peter Robinson when he first disclosed his wife's affair last week. But then the BBC reported that Robinson knew his wife had solicited loans from business types to help her young lover open a coffee shop, but failed to report it to authorities.

Now, well, everyone's watching to see how the movie ends.

-- Johanna Neuman

Left photo: Iris and Peter Robinson. Credit: Associated Press. Right photo: Kirk McCambley. Credit: AFP / Getty Images

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