Saturday 10 December 2016

Specialist in trauma counselling felt 'angry' to be drawn into it all

Published 09/01/2010 | 05:00

PSYCHIATRIST Selwyn Black started working for DUP MP Iris Robinson as a political adviser in January 2008.

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Within two years, his allegations would be central to the scandal that has tarnished her political and personal reputation and which also threatens the political future of her husband Peter.

Dr Black is a lecturer specialising in trauma counselling.

As part of his work as a counselling lecturer at the University of Ulster, he researched how medical staff coped with helping victims traumatised by the 1998 Omagh bomb.

He also assessed the experiences of doctors caught up in the Bosnian civil war, developing a framework for measuring intensity of trauma.

In the past he has also served as a Methodist minister in Dublin and spent 10 years as a military chaplain with the Royal Air Force, but it is his short time in politics that has thrust him into the limelight.

Dr Black had helped Mrs Robinson in her role on Stormont's health committee.

But Mrs Robinson also sent more than 150 text messages to Dr Black over the past year, during which she outlined the development of her relationship with Kirk McCambley.

Dr Black kept those messages and, after resigning in December 2009 -- the same month that Mrs Robinson announced she was stepping down from political life -- he found himself as the whistleblower in a story that has stunned both sides of the Irish Sea.

Mr Black told BBC's 'Spotlight' programme he had felt angry he had been "drawn into that situation" but he now felt sorry for Mrs Robinson.

Irish Independent

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