It looks like there is broad consensus that Iris is in the wrong. But what of Peter?
There’s lots of talk about Ministerial codes, but I wonder if people aren’t getting too technical and too legalistic too soon. The desire for justice should not settle on an overly enthusiastic reading of the Ministerial code and overlook Peter Robinson’s reasonable explanation for his actions.
While the debate continues whether Peter met his obligations under the Ministerial code, I feel the FM can argue that by demanding repayment of cash he in effect acted within the spirit of the law (& Nolan) and upheld the public interest.
Is it not correct to state that his actions moderated the behaviour of his wife? Couldn’t Peter argue that his timely intervention actually prevented impropriety?
How can we hang an individual on minutiae when the net effect of his actions (getting the money returned and involving solicitors to ensure propriety) was to minimise disgrace, and to promote openness, honesty and accountability? Didn’t Peter Robinson in fact uphold the Nolan principles?
Given the myriad of conflicting loyalties he faced, could Peter not say that he successfully navigated the moral maze of public duty and family loyalty – the result being that a greater disaster / affront to democracy was averted?
If Iris has no defence, I think Peter certainly does and that it should be fairly heard.