The ‘wicked witch of the North’ Iris Robinson and husband and DUP First Minister Peter Robinson

DUP politician Iris Robinson, also known as the "wicked witch of the North," apparently has 10 Catholic cousins.

The Democratic Unionist Party politician is currently married to DUP leader and First Minister Peter Robinson.

Robinson’s first cousin, Jo Surtees, is a successful Catholic businesswoman and is currently living in France. 

Speaking about her strained relationship with Iris Robinson, Surtees said "it is highly unlikely that the relationship will be restored" and that "We may be cousins but I don't think Iris and I have very much in common or that we would have a lot to say to each other."

Surtees’ father, James McCartney, is a brother of Robinson’s mother. Growing up disillusioned by the Troubles in Northern Ireland, McCartney left the North for a life at sea.

"My dad couldn't wait to get out of Northern Ireland and he went to sea at 15. My father even converted to Catholicism on his deathbed, just two days before he passed away. Coincidentally my father’s other brother, Cecil, also met an Irish Catholic girl who he then married in England."

Speaking about the tension between the families when they learned of the mixed marriages, Surtees said: "The mixed marriages didn't go down well with the family who were left behind in Belfast. And I remember that on the occasions we went to visit relatives in Belfast, the welcome was not exactly warm."

Estranged from Iris Robinson, Surtees first learnt of Robinson’s political achievements when she saw her on TV with her husband Peter.
"I remember meeting Peter when he started going out with Iris. They were both quite political and staunchly loyalist in those days,” she said.
Sutrees keeps up to date with Robinson’s political developments on the Internet "from time to time to see what she is doing,” and has stated her disgust at Robinson’s position on homosexuals, an issue in which Robinson got branded the "wicked witch of the North.”

"I have to say that I don’t agree with a lot of what Iris says, especially about homosexuality and her claims that gays can in some way be ‘cured.’”