‘Heartbreaking’ vista causing troubles in the Free Presbyterian heartlands

Senior Free Presbyterian figure and former leading light in the Third Force, Reverend Ivan Foster, has publicly declared the unease within his church at the prospect of Ian Paisley alongside Martin McGuinness at the head of a new power-sharing Executive in the north. Describing himself as “extremely close” to Ian Paisley, Foster’s words confirm the growing unease within the DUP heartland at the volte face being promised by the DUP over power-sharing and the Good Friday Agreement. His interview can be accessed on video at the web page.

If the DUP are seriously intent on following through on a deal at this stage, then it is likely that the problems surfacing now for the party leadership will be but a taster of things to come.

Much has been said about Sinn Fein’s difficulty in bringing the republican constituency with it over policing. Whilst there will uindoubtedly be difficulties for the republican leadership, the truth is that republicans have for many years been preparing the ground- both publicly and privately- for an historic endorsement of a policing structure in the six counties. Furthermore, the republican base has been conditioned to the realities of political compromises repeatedly in the course of this process.

In contrast, the DUP have spent little time conditioning their broader electoral base (and I suspect even less their activist base, if Rev Foster’s remarks are anything to go by) for the pains of political compromise. Remember Paisley’s 12 July speech, only a matter of months ago?

  • thebigman

    in the belfast newsletter on the eve of last years general election ian paisley said


    never BE GUILTY

  • Frustrated Democrat

    RIP has done many ‘U’ turns in his life and walked away at the last moment I think we are about to see one last major turn around.

    He tried to ditch another of his priciples, but the cold reality of losing support from his flock will not be something in the end he will do.

    So don’t hold you breath for an Assembly in NI, the sectarian wing of the DUP will condemn the rest of us to more indeterminable direct rule and a further greening of NI

    He has done so much damage to NI over the last 40 years by resisting every change for the better ……….I sometimes wonder in his conscience does he realise what he has done?

  • slug

    I too would have unease, to be honest; just thinking about things like Enniskillen, and thinking about the fact that Adams-McGuinness basically ran the IRA.

  • bertie


    how picky you are to be worried about wee things like that.

  • Gonzo

    Surely Paisley would only be sharing power with Sinn Fein, since the IRA couldn’t blow up a balloon these days, let alone a police station?

    Interesting that some DUP backwoodsmen are more afraid of the Provo bogeyman than the threat of joint authority. Instead of seeing through the rhetoric and watching as Sinn Fein slowly buy into Northern Ireland, they’d rather give Dublin more say on the place…

  • Crataegus

    He has done so much damage to NI over the last 40 years by resisting every change for the better

    I’m in one of those uncharitable moods; it is high time that the backwoods men of Unionism realised that yelling and shouting from the ditch and hedgerow not only achieves nothing, but requires little real courage or any real strength of character. Real courage and statesmanship is about trying to end differences and facing up to responsibilities when opportunity arrises. That’s the hard thing to do. The cat calls and YAHO politics are infantile and after 30 years of jeering from the side line and pointless grand stunts when the DUP get a real opportunity what exactly do they do, BOTCH IT. The problem with this lot is they know what they don’t like, but have not the slightest idea how to proceed to change it. There are as competent as a brain surgeon who has downed a bottle of whisky.

    Paisley’s legacy will be of a man that achieved nothing that he professed as his political objectives He helped fragment Unionism and destroy it from within. He has been a major player since the sixties and has had a major role in what transpired. History will not be kind to him.


    I agree pathetic bunch.

  • Rubicon

    There is another way of reading Ivan Foster’s intervention at this time – he could already believe Rev. Paisley has decided to make the required statement of intent. Paisley hardly needs Foster to lay the ground for him refusing.

    All will become clear in the hours ahead …

  • Butterknife

    In Hansard* Mr. Nigel Dodds asked: The Secretary of State mentioned Friday 24 November and said that the DUP and Sinn Fein would have to indicate who their nominees would be. What form is that indication to take? What happens if either party does not make that indication? Therefore the IRA and Sinn Fein have been through a divorce in the mindset of the DUP MPs.

    * http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm061121/debtext/61121-0005.htm#06112156000676

  • smcgiff

    BIG IAN says NO!

    What a waste of time all this procrastination has been.

    So, how will the new look Direct Rule look. Irish and UK mainland Ministers alternatively meeting in Dublin and London?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    S Mcgiff

    Obviously your hearing is not the same as the speaker’s and SOS………. they say he said yes……..the rest of us might agree with you.