Family jobs

About 100 MPs yesterday put on record their family members paid from Parliamentary allowances. The number of Robinsons on the list is attracting national attention.

Peter Robinson, and his wife Iris, who is also an MP, have turned politics into a real family business

  • realist

    They are shameless!! Must have a neck made of brass to have gone down this road. Perfectly legal but how does it look to ordinary families trying to balance weekly budgets that run out a day before payday? Having to live, work and survive in the real world would test most of our career politicians to their limit. Is this gravy in addition to Assembly allowances? How many times can someone be an office manager?

    Why is the much publicised employment of Jun Doc by the Doc not included in the list?

    Why is

  • Rory

    But Peter did promise to work to improve the condition of the broad unionist family. It’s only fair that he test drive this policy in the micro before extending it to the macro. Isn’t it?

  • 6countyprod

    Obviously a very political family who wish to continue serving the people of NI.

    If their children develop into effective and hard-working politicians like their parents, the prospects for NI look really good!

  • cut the bull

    All part and parcel of the Peace process industry.

    Which most people voted for warts and all.

  • joeCanuck

    Witty, as usual, Rory.

  • Quizdaemon

    Wheren’t the Robinson spawn also on the list of DUP employees recieving full time wages from their Assembly office cost allowances?

  • Brian Walker

    Old news! Mike White of the Guardian had it six weeks ago

  • Brian Walker

    Do politicians do their kids a favour by putting them on the payroll?
    March 7, 2008 1:00 PM

    I got into trouble this week after writing a Guardian column about the Paisley-Robinson handover of power at Stormont. Though I pointed out what a clever fellow Peter Robinson is, the tone was deemed patronising by paranoid-sniffers who are not confined to either community. They are everywhere.

    Did I say clever? A friend sends an electronic cutting from the Belfast Telegraph. It shows that no less than five members of Ian Paisley Sr’s family’s were holding paid political office of one kind or another. Two daughters are on the payroll as parliamentary employees; son, Ian Jr, himself an member of the Northern Ireland assembly, was Da’s part-time researcher and a Stormont minister until his recent problems; plus wife, Eileen, who sits in the expenses-only House of Lords.

    That’s more than the Derek Conway dynasty (three), but not as much as the Peter Robinsons, whose patriarch is poised to take over as first minister. Clever Mr Robinson MP MLA employs a son and daughter on his Commons staff; his wife Irene, also a Westminster MP, employs a son and (part-time) a daughter-in-law.

    So say newly released figures which show that 19 DUP politicians employ family members – though this will not be confined to the DUP, any more than it is to any one of the big Westminster parties. As noted here before, it’s not always wrong. Some spouses work very hard. Some were secretaries before they become the wife.

    But you do wonder if elected people are doing their kids any favours by sheltering them this way from the big bad world out there? The practice is widespread in Europe, where I once scanned a list of private offices of senior commission officials. Not all employed their wives; a few employed their husbands.

  • PeaceandJustice

    “Mrs Robinson employs their son … as office manager”

    From what people have been telling me, you’re lucky if you get any response from the DUP office. So much for the DUP delivering for Unionism given that they sold themselves to the electorate as the new efficient face of Unionism. Now they are the lead party within Unionism, they don’t seem as ‘hungry’ anymore. The power of money.

  • gram

    Swizz family Robinson

  • DINC

    That’s true enough.. I’ve written Mrs. Robinson a couple of letters via email. The first one got a short response from her son, the second got no response at all- which I found unacceptable given my explicit request for one.

  • Brian Walker

    The practice is widespread in Europe, where I once scanned a list of private offices of senior commission officials.

    I suggest that you scan again:

    All of the members of the private offices of the EU Commissioner’s that I looked at seem entirely unrelated to them. Do you know better?

    Unlike the DUP, the EU seems to be committed to openness, at least.

  • Greenflag

    Alternate name for Northern Ireland

    Robinsonia ?

    Famly members of the male gender can be called Robbin Sons which is descriptive of both the family name and chosen/selected /appointed profession

    Vociferous supporters of Peter Punt can be called Robbinbites .

    Robinitis sounds like a condition that could be inimical to one’s health but profitable to one’s pocket ?

    There is a wealth of possibilities with the Royal Robinsons name. Beats by a mile the whiny Windsors or debauched Saxe Coburgs I’d guess ?

  • Greenflag,

    It hasn’t been that long since the President was also a Robinson. What is it with that name?

  • PeaceandJustice

    Horseman – “Unlike the DUP, the EU seems to be committed to openness, at least.”

    That’s a joke regarding the EU (and we have a Shinner saying good things about the EU?). Did we ever get a full list from Sinn Fein PIRA? I seem to remember they threw a few crumbs to the press but not a full list?

  • Greenflag

    ‘the President was also a Robinson. What is it with that name? ‘

    It’s common 🙂 There were a lot of thieves in the middle ages so I guess that’s how the name started 🙂 Alternatively it’s from the personal name Robin which was popular circ 1066 when the Normans decided that their newly acquired ‘english’ property/chattels should be distinguished one from another by having a last name . This enabled the bookeeping and records of the farm estates to be managed more effectively .

    According to my reference most Robinsons (70%) are ‘thick’ on the ground in England north of the Wash to the Scottish borders with another 10% in the London area .

    The Robinson President you refer to was IIRC a Burke prior to her marriage . Despite being a fighter for female equality etc she took her hubbies name as was and remains somewhat traditional in these parts -although a trend is now seen with career women particularly the successful ones who have been successfully ‘branded ‘ while single, holding on to their pre marriage name for fiscal if not for feminist reasons .

    Mrs Robinson will however always be remembered as that bored American wife in Dustin Hoffman’s
    ‘The Graduate ‘

  • joeCanuck

    Just an irrelevant note. In Quebec it has been illegal for a woman to assume her husband’s name for about 30 years or so. Children can take either surname or both. Now that a second generation is coming along since the change there is wonderment at the possibility of some or many quadruple barreled names.

  • joeCanuck

    I’m quite sure that the Robbersons do a great job and are worth every penny.

  • PeaceandJustice

    As people seem to be having problems getting a response from the DUP Robinson HQ, what is the experience of those that have contacted the political wing of PIRA, Sinn Fein? Quick or slow response?

  • Greenflag

    joecanuck ,

    ‘In Quebec it has been illegal for a woman to assume her husband’s name for about 30 years or so.’

    Probably a ‘necessity’ JC as this note explains.

    French Canadians are descended from a relatively small number of immigrants. On top of that, many names were homonyms. The result is that the number of family names in French Quebec today is very small (a few thousand) compared to that in France (hundreds of thousands). Everything was determined in the early centuries of settlement. The distribution of the most common family names of baptised individuals before 1800 shows that 37 family names accounted for more than 1,000 baptisms, 150 for more than 500, and 962 for more than 100. The 15 most common names were used by more than 28,000 individuals, and 1,400 names covered almost 95% of all individuals born in the colony before 1800. The table below gives the list of the 50 most common names; at the top of the list, unsurprisingly, are names corresponding to the earliest immigrants or to the most common homonymic stock.

    Rank Family name
    1 Roy 3068
    2 Gauthier 2330
    3 Gagnon 2329
    4 Lefebvre 2158
    5 Morin 2096
    6 Boucher 1911
    7 Côté 1846
    8 Bélanger 1778
    9 Pelletier 1762
    10 Paquet 1684
    11 Gagné 1636
    12 Martin 1527
    13 Parent 1505
    14 Leclerc 1505

  • With a little licence from the soon to be released Badman and Robinson:

    Constable Orde: “Well, I think this calls for a cup of char at venerable Ireland Yard.”
    Robinson: “Char?”
    Badman: “Yes, Robinson, a colloquialism for tae.”

  • Danny O’Connor

    Given that the finance minister has demanded that all departments make a 5% efficiency saving,perhaps MLA’S should set a good example amd reduce their salary and expenses,this would save at least half a million ,grants to parties,special advisors etc,would take it closer to a million,reducing the office cost allowance to previous levels would save a further 2 million.By the way, that is sterling, not punts.It seems a case of do as we say not as we do.

  • Rory

    I caught the tail end of a piece on In Parliament Today on the radio tonight and it was an account of a European (i.e. French, Belgian, Italian?) MEP asking, “What is it with you British MEP’s, you employ your wives and sleep with your servants?”.

    Well – I liked it.

  • joeCanuck

    Interesting, Greenflag. I never understood the reason as the legislation passed before I came to Canada.

  • Hogan

    I don’t care how much it costs the taxpayer, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting the delectable Rebecca R. you wouldn’t be complaining about Peter employing her.

  • noel adams

    THe real story is Lisa costello BBC westminister contacted Ian og as to why his name was not on the listand he was noncommital is it now two jobs junior.

  • Greenflag


    BTW it’s not just a Quebec/Canada thing . The Swedes had to do something along similar lines a while back . There were too many people with the same last name . Can’t recall the details but if you are interested just Google . Not surprisingly the Chinese are having a similar problem . Given the social preference for sons instead of daughters with the object of passing on the family name allied to abortion on demand following sex determination of the foetus the Chinese are going to have a problem with some 40 million excess ‘males’ who’ll have no chance of finding a ‘wife’ unless of course they become wealthy enough to ‘buy’ them from neighbouring ‘poorer’ countries . In addition there were IIRC 25 million Wangs, 20 million Changs and 20 million Wongs. It could be a problem for the authorities to find the wight Wong and too easy to track down the wong Wang never mind going wong chasing down the wight Chang to pay his TV license .

    Whereas if one is named Sir Cecil Hogmanay Sackvill Melchett DSO CBE and Bar -there is presumably no question of mistaken identity when the taxman comes to collect 🙁

  • E eye E eye yo

    No mention of Billy Armstrong from you. Remember he employs his wife and daughter and has no planning permission for his office or sign.Before you attack the DUP look at your own party!

  • Muad’Dub

    [i]As people seem to be having problems getting a response from the DUP Robinson HQ, what is the experience of those that have contacted the political wing of PIRA, Sinn Fein? Quick or slow response?
    Posted by PeaceandJustice on Apr 25, 2008 @ 09:11 PM[/i]

    Despite the fact you are a worthless troll I want to answer this one.

    Quite a few years ago I took part in a trainign scheme which was organised between the Short Strand Partnership, East Belfast Partnership and Oasis. Part of the way through the course I ended up placed in the Short Strand part. Joe O’Donnell was the Shinner on the ground at the time and he couldn’t do enough for us. Living as home as I was at the time I didn’t need much, however he helped a mate of mine who lived in one of the now demolished houses of Mersey Street not only get a new house, but a better house and a hefty community care grant to cover the costs of moving which he’d never have got otherwise.