Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Dotard: an educational insult

Read more

#TECH 24

Medtech: Repairing the human body

Read more

ENCORE!

Jennifer Lawrence on why she's unafraid to speak out

Read more

#THE 51%

Hola "Ellas Hoy" - The 51 Percent welcomes its sister show on FRANCE 24 Spanish

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

A stroll through the Corsican city of Calvi, jewel of the Mediterranean

Read more

REPORTERS

The torment of Christians living in Syria’s Khabur valley

Read more

FOCUS

'Generation Merkel' yearns for continuity and stability

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Amazon rainforest pays heavy price for Brazil's political crisis

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Presidential election re-run pushed back to October 26th

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2010-01-12

Northern Ireland’s First Minister steps down after wife’s affair

With downloads of “Mrs. Robinson” skyrocketing in Northern Ireland, the public is clearly entertained and shocked in equal measure by the revelation of Iris Robinson’s affair with a 19-year-old man. Her husband has been forced to step down temporarily.

The Irish Times leads with Peter Robinson’s temporary resignation as First Minister of Northern Ireland’s Assembly. The paper leads with a photo of Robinson as he left Parliament Buildings in Stormont yesterday.

Arlene Foster, currently Northern Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, will take over for the six-week period.

The central charge against Robinson is that he breached parliamentary rules by not reporting loans which his wife procured from two businessmen on behalf of her then 19-year-old lover.

Deputy leader of the party Nigel Dodds read out a short speech reaffirming the parliamentary party’s unanimous support for Peter Robinson. Old party stalwart Rev. Ian Paisley was also present.

However, some Assembly members have said off the record that was “no hope” for Robinson’s continued leadership.

To understand the full impact of this scandal in Northern Ireland, it is essential to comprehend the conservative Protestant electorate that elected Peter Robinson and his wife (also an elected representative) to power. Iris Robinson is a Pentescostal Christian who caused a stir in June 2008 by calling homosexuality an abomination during a BBC radio interview. She went on to say homosexuals made her “sick” and recommended they seek psychiatric counseling. Recent coverage has pointed out the irony that now sees Iris Robinson herself under psychiatric care. What’s more, the passage from Leviticus which underpins her belief that homosexuality is morally wrong also condemns adultery!

This scandal is manna from heaven for Sinn Féin, the Irish nationalist party which shares power with Robinson’s Democratic Unionist Party. Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams was recently embroiled in a scandal over his brother who is being pursued by the courts for the sexual abuse of his daughter. Adams is accused of not informing the Party of his brother’s history. Liam Adams was a prominent Sinn Féin figure in Dundalk, Co Louth, in the 1990s and also worked with young people there as late as 2004.

For Peter Robinson, the issue of impropriety turns particularly on a loan of £50,000 pounds secured by his for her then 19 year old lover, Kirk McCambley, for a business venture. Did Iris Robinson promise political favours in return? Why didn’t Peter Robinson inform the Assembly once he became aware of the loan as he is required to do?

The Irish Times says Robinson is in a much better place politically than 48 hours ago, having bought himself time. Describing the atmosphere in Northern Ireland, the paper says,

“This is the most amazing political theatre where we are spellbound by the principal characters, and where the personal and the political combine to create an extraordinary unfolding drama.”

On the other side of the world, the Sydney Morning Herald has picked up on the story. “Mrs. Robinson song sales soar as teen love becomes gay icon,” reads the headline.

The sale of Simon and Garfunkel’s song Mrs. Robinson has soared by 1,200% in Northern Ireland in the space of one week! The song was written for the 1967 film The Graduate in which Dustin Hoffman’s character was seduced by the much older Mrs. Robinson.

It contains the lyric, “Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know.”

In a further twist in this bizarre story, Attitude, a gay magazine in Britain has tried to contact Kirk McCambley to have him on the cover.

“A lot of gay people are feeling grateful for exposing her,” the editor said.

Other stories in today’s international papers:

International Herald Tribune
Obituary of French New Wave director Eric Rohmer

The Independent
Mystery of three-year hiccup ordeal solved


 

By James CREEDON

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-09-22 Donald Trump

War of unknown words: Kim Jong-un calls Trump a 'dotard'

IN THE WORLD PAPERS - Friday, September 22: What's in a word? Kim Jong-un calls Donald Trump a "dotard" and internet searches for its definition skyrocket overnight. In other...

Read more

2017-09-22 France

A French fortune: Liliane Bettencourt's name was synonymous with 'scandal'

IN THE FRENCH PAPERS - Friday, September 22: The papers speculate about the future of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party after her key aide Florian Philippot...

Read more

2017-09-21 Catalan independence

Mexico City’s earthquake, Catalonia’s independence struggle and Senegal’s charcoal-making women

INTERNATIONAL PAPERS - Thurs. 21.09.17: We take a look at the earthquake that's hit Mexico and others that preceded it. The Catalan referendum is also making headlines, with an...

Read more

2017-09-21 Michelin

The French protest again and some Viking warriors were women

FRENCH PAPERS - Thurs. 21.09.17: Today we take a look at how the press is covering France's national strike. It is the second time this month that protesters have taken to the...

Read more

2017-09-20 Donald Trump

'US threatens to totally destroy North Korea'

INTERNATIONAL PAPERS, Weds. 20.09.17: The New York Times calls out US President Donald Trump on his "strikingly selective definition of sovereignty" after his address at the UN...

Read more