The recent revelations of Peter and Iris Robinson’s lucrative dealings with property developers has once again revealed corruption at the heart of the political establishment.
The Robinsons bought a piece of land, then worth and estimated £75,000, for just £5 from their good friend and property developer Fred Fraser. The piece of land was a crucial access strip to the back gardens of the Robinsons and their neighbours. This allowed the Robinsons to sell part of their garden, together with the access strip, to Bloomfield Developments.
The access strip, although then worth an estimated £220,000 was sold for £5. Although they did not made a profit on this transaction, without it, they would not have been able to secure the £460,000 for part of their garden. Furthermore, buying and selling the land for a mere fiver, the Robinsons avoided thousands of pounds in capital gains tax.
Peter Robinson failed to declare the property on the MP’s Register of Interests. He also failed to declare a possible conflict of interest when he attended a Castlereagh council meeting where the planning application involving his garden, was to be discussed.
Once again, these revelations confirm the cosy relationships between the political establishment and wealthy business people. It is no coincidence that Fred Fraser, one of the wealthiest property developers in Northern Ireland, was involved in many of housing developments in Castlereagh, a council politically dominated by the Robinsons for decades.
How many other councillors, MLAs and MPs have close corrupt links with wealthy business people? The Assembly is selling off our public services through Public Private Partnerships and Public Finance Initiatives, handing millions of pounds of our tax payers mone to private companies who, in return, run down our services as they seek to maximise their profits.
Working class people need a mass working class party, with representatives who live on a workers wage, defending our rights and interests.