“I am also proud of my Irish roots”

As noted earlier, the DUP leader Ian Paisley went to Dublin today, Farmleigh to be exact where he was met by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern – the RTÉ video report of the resultant handshake is here and the BBC report is here [realplayer file]. The quote in the title is from Ian Paisley’s speech, in which he said, “I am proud to be an Ulsterman, but I am also proud of my Irish roots… although I would put the Ulsterman before the Irishman in my Constitution.” Ian Paisley has also been interviewed by Stephen Nolan [??? – Ed] partial transcript here From the BBC report on tonight’s interview, to be broadcast at 10.40pm BBC1

But when it came to the crunch, he said he was prepared to “step out of the class of the coward into the class of the man who is prepared to sell himself and his reputation for the sake of this country”.

“We were told if we didn’t do this then it was going to be curtains for our country,” he says.

“How would I have faced my people if I had allowed this country to have the union destroyed and the setting up of a joint government by the south of Ireland?”

There’s another interesting exchange..

Does Mr Paisley still hate “Sinn Fein/IRA”?

“I hate the principles of the IRA and I hate the murders that they carried out, and I hate what they did to innocent people,” says Mr Paisley.

What about Gerry Adams, who sat beside Mr Paisley in that already iconic photograph at Stormont – is he still to be considered “an enemy of the Protestant people”?

“I am not in a position to say what his present feeling is at this moment, but we know his policies, and know what they are.

“Now, having said that, there has been a change and in a few days’ time the same Mr Adams will stand beside me and he will take an oath that he is going to accept the police force of Northern Ireland.”

One other point to note is that Farmleigh has previously been used to host visits from “the Chinese Premier, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the King and Queen of Malaysia and of course on the Day of Welcomes on 1st May 2004, Farmleigh played host to the 25 Heads of State from Europe.”

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  • dodrade

    Did anyone else, hearing his warm words and seeing the handshake with Bertie, think that perhaps the man we have seen and heard the last two weeks could be the stepford paisley?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    ‘But when it came to the crunch, he said he was prepared to “step out of the class of the coward into the class of the man who is prepared to sell himself and his reputation for the sake of this country”.’

    What did Paisely call David Trimble when he stepped forward, after Paisley ran away in 1997?

    This man makes my stomach turn, not for what he is doing but for having denied others the opportunity for so long and having cost 1,000’s of lives in the meantime, how can he look at himself in the mirror every morning.

    Robin Sterling the Ballymena Councillor was right in his desciption of Paisley, a liar and a deceiver. Sterling may not have many principles I agree with but he has principles and sticks by them including his apology to the people who voted for him on the basis of the DUP manifesto, in contrast to RIP, who is still making excuses.

    His reputation such as it was lies in ruins.

  • willowfield

    “How would I have faced my people if I had allowed this country to have the union destroyed and the setting up of a joint government by the south of Ireland?”

    Er, when other unionists made similar comments they were denounced for giving into blackmail.

    The man’s got a brass neck!

  • willowfield

    Some of these comments are quite remarkable: it’s almost hard to believe he has said them.

    Why was he so hostile to previous unionist leaders? Because they got more votes than him?

  • T.Ruth

    Here is a man showing great courage,leadership and statesmanship. We need Peace.We all have a grave responsibility to create the conditions for that Peace.It does not require us to forget the past merely to learn enough not to repeat our mistakes.I hope Stephen Nolan is conscious of that in his interview later tonight.

    Dr.Paisley meets the definition of a leader-“He acts with courage,stands tall in the face of adversity and is prepared to go where few have gone before in the knowledge that example is the greatest school of humanity.”

    I am amazed how the media is so focused on the past of our Unionist leaders, Rev.Paisley in particular, and is prepared to ask them hard questions. I look forward to Nolan interviewing Gerry Adams,Gerry Kelly or Martin McGuiness about their direct involvement in terrorism over the past forty years.I will not be holding my breath while I wait.

  • confused

    The British Government really must have put the gun to his head, to do a deal or accept joint sovereignty.
    They at last called his bluff.
    What a coward he turned out to be!

  • Time will tell

    “what a coward he turned out to be”

    Articles 2&3 from the Irish constitution gone

    United Ireland gone

    Unionist veto Assured

    The Union Assured

    RUC exhonerated

    IRA criminalised

    Republicanism finished

    MI5 super-base in Holywood with no safeguards

    DUP in charge of all Nationalist finances


  • GavBelfast

    Posted by T.Ruth on Apr 04, 2007 @ 08:46 PM

    Politicians adore obedient people like you, it makes their lives so much easier. I hope you don’t have an open fire.

  • Yeah, right

    Aye right: the British government threatened Paisley with “joint sovereignty” . . . do you think anyone told Bertie? Can you imagine his face? “What, *me*, be jointly responsible for da nort?” First he’d blanch, then he’d have a strong drink, and finally, conclusively even, he’d then say, “away and **** yourself”. And since, as the dogs in the street know, given that HMG DIDN’T threaten Paisley with anything so implausible, why is this lie the latest of his long career of falsehoods? I’ll tell you why: a very, very guilty conscience. How cheaply that man has been bought! A mess of potage indeed.

  • Cato

    The reason that Dr Paisley, sensibly I believe, has decided to share power with Sinn Fein is that he is an intelligent enough man to realise that he has got all that he will be able to get from republicans.
    Once Sinn Fein effectively decommissioned the IRA through handing over the weapons and supporting the criminal justice system, there was no credible way that the DUP could go on refusing to share power with a party with such a significant elected presence.
    It is only a very small minority of DUP supporters who are stupid enough to believe that they could keep Sinn Fein from Stormont forever.
    No British Government would stand for it.
    Even Jim Allister was not stupid enough to suggest that Sinn Fein should never be in government.
    I am not an apologist for Ian Paisley but I do recognise his opposition to the Good Friday Agreement as a legitimate political position.
    After all a very significant minority of unionists felt the same way as the DUP.
    They were actually proven correct by the failure of the IRA to decommission during the life of the first Assembly and by the Northern Bank robbery.
    The final reason I believe Ian Paisley has gone into power is that he believes he is truly a servant of the people and realises that now, the vast majority of unionist people do genuinely want to see a power-sharing executive and that to refuse to do that is not a tenable political position.

  • Harris

    Time Will Tell

    Yes, time WILL tell a different story in a few years.

    “Articles 2&3 from the Irish constitution gone”

    Yes, gone to appease those unionists, who in turn, signed up for the GFA and all that it entails. And when the near future brings a nationalist majority, unionists will see a funeral for their beloved union. Articles 2&3? who needs them? They can always be reinstated at a later date, if need be. No big deal.

    “United Ireland gone”

    How can it be gone if it never existed? Ireland will be united in time.

    “Unionist veto Assured”

    There’s no unionist veto that will ever prevent progress.

    “The Union Assured”

    See above!

    “RUC exhonerated”

    From what? There probably isn’t a single individual in this world, outside of blinded unionists/loyalists that, don’t see the old corrupt and collusion ridden RUC (disbanded mind you) as a sectarian force for a sectarian people. Don’t fool yourself!

    “Republicanism finished”

    Not finished at all, just on standby. There’s a new breed of republicans that will take the torch from here.

  • Kevin

    There’s something almost Richard Nixon-like about the Rev.

  • slug

    As a unionist I was never a fan of the politics of Paisley of old.

    That said I think what he has done in the last two weeks takes NI into totally new territory.

    There couldn’t have been a more emphatic handshake today. Nor a warmer message.

    I think that the unequivocal nature of his actions do make it clear that unionism is now taking its tactics into a new mode for a new set of circumstances.

  • slug

    Though he dodged the tough questions I thought he was able to pull off a positive interview with Nolan, which I have watched.

  • Henry94

    He also bought himself some insurance today. The people of the south will take the handshake and the kind words to their hearts. They will be less inclined to blame Paisley if things go wrong. The better his relationship with the south the more boxed into the institutions in the north will Sinn Fein be.

    It was good politics as well as good sense.

  • GavBelfast

    What an awful interview in what looks like a really amateurish-eg-trip-of-a-programme.

    The audience, what there is of it, is even peppered with regulars from his radio show.

    And he simply doesn’t listen to what is being said to him, so you get a whole load of tangents tossed back (so he has that in common with Paisley).

    Paisley comes across as more and more intoxicated – presumably only with lure of power and his sudden fan club.

    Meanwhile, on ‘Nolan Live’, “thousands are calling in”. Aye …..

  • The Third Policeman

    Ahh theres good times ahead people I’d have to say. We’re definately moving into an exciting period. Perhaps this is the beginnings of a proper shared identity. If we can all agree to be Irish as in ‘of the island of Ireland’ then we have the steadiest of foundations. It doesn’t mean Unionists compromising their integrity as British, but embracing their own particular regional British-ness. The same way a Welshman might.

    In return we Republicans will mature a bit and realise this is perfectly alright. We will always have a certain aspect of Britishness to whatever Ireland we end up with. In *my* United Irish Republic the north would remain in the commonwealth. Largly Unionist areas would get regional autonomy, and would continue to elect MPs to West Minster as well as TDs in the Dail. A British governemnt observation committee will be allowed to monitor the way Unionists are treated in the north, until Unionists feel confident and safe enough in this new Ireland to govern and be governed without that particular lifeline.

    We would promote Ulster Scots as a equal alternative (and indeed partner) to Gaelic culture. If for nothing else than to attract that massive Ulster Scots diasphoria going untapped.But also because, as a group of people who have been on this island since before the USA was even a country, their culture is just as intregal to Ireland as our own.

    Aye its all twistin and shakin now I’d say. I don’t think this country will end the way our fathers thought it would (well Im still a youngster of 18 so maybe I should say grandfather). Neither true green UI nor true orange NI but hopefully a healthy mixture of every thing. No one answer is the right one anyway so maybe thats for the best.

  • Northsider


    What a terrible, appeal-to-the-lowest-common-denominator, rabble-rousing, patronising load of oul balls!

    Even the new media add-ons are a disaster.

    Why do we have to endure such drivel – taxi drivers don’t have Tvs in their car, so who is it aimed at?

  • Bigger Picture

    Frustrated Democrat:

    “This man makes my stomach turn, not for what he is doing but for having denied others the opportunity for so long and having cost 1,000’s of lives in the meantime, how can he look at himself in the mirror every morning.”

    As a note to this discussion, it is wrong, as many have suggested, that by Ian Paisley rejecting Sunningdale and the like he was responsible for the troubles and 1,000 of murders. This is a completely horrendous statement, the Republican movement were not involved in Sunningdale and therefore their murderous campaign would have continued no matter what would have happened at Stormont.

    Also others cannot stoop to this level, eh Sir Reg??As they were also opposed to power sharing at the time!

  • Penelope

    damnned if he does…. damnned if he doesn’t… you just can’t please people!!

  • lies, damned lies

    Correct, the Provos would have went on killing regardless of Sunningdale living or dying.
    The tragedy is that blood was spilt in pursuit of a noble goal which was sold out utterly by Adams and Co who have settled for less.
    I sincerely regret the military operations which resulted in any deaths while his band of careerists and touts were in charge. And that’s most of them.
    No wonder Paisley can be so magmanimous: he’s won.

  • FAP

    It seems Dr Death is getting used to spouting Blarney. Maybe he is a future Irish President. He has the credentials as his guff about the Diaspora wil be every bit as vacuous as the two Marys. I notice the current “President” is on the next post warmly embracing a sectarian killer. Bloodied hands across the divide. Talk about Connolly’s carnival of reaction.

  • Obscure Reference

    He’s got a neck like a jockey’s bollix but Paisley is no coward.

    Strangely I miss the Paisley of old. The spittle-flecked, bulging-eyed, vein-popping, ranting and raving cleric-thug recruiter for the IRA was a character fiction couldn’t invent. Kind of like General Buck Naked in Liberia. I can explain Paisley 2.0 (cynically). I just can’t quite believe it. Look at how shocked people are at the man acting like a normal human being!

    It’s a good thing though.

    Adams has always been that fellow you play pool with and when you come back from the jacks the balls are all in different positions.

  • darth rumsfeld

    so… a fat, overbearing bullying windbag comes on the telly, patronises his supporters,hectors his opponents and refuses to listen to the other side or compromise his prejudices no matter what the objective evidence to the contrary…… and Ian didn’t come across much better

    I’ll get me sash

  • Two Nations

    Paisley has been demonised for 40 years and it is about to pay off big style for him.

    I would believe that most ordinary Southerners would expect to be meeting the anti-Christ when the first get to meet him. Instead they will meet a charming, humourous old man who would probably make a nice Grandad. It is called seduction.

    I expect a romance between the DUP and the ROI over the next couple of years. Whether this ends in a loving relationship or a fist-flying break-up is anyone’s guess.

  • Charlie

    Re. The Third Policeman’s references to “a group of people who have been on this island since before the USA was even a country”…also worth noting that these Scottish settlers were descendents of the ‘Scoti’ tribe who were Gaelic raiders from the North of Ireland…lets get past all this ‘planters and Native Irish’ stuff – in Ulster, Catholics & Protestants are pretty much borne from the same stock…

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    (Also, these Scots-Irish or Ulster-Scots as Unionists like to call them now had strong Republican leanings, an aspect which is ignored today.
    ‘The United Irishmen’ and ‘Young Irelanders’ were mainly all Protestant too. Protestants should check this history out for their ancestors were not always loyal obedient god-fearing subjects of the English).

    Paisley sure has changed his tune. When the Irish Taoiseach Séan Lemass visited NI in the 1965 Paisley was there throwing snowballs at him in protest. So good to see he has come to his senses and his reason and rationality has matured with old age.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    There’s the old story of when TK Whittaker and Jack Lynch were at Stormont in the 60s & Paisley was throwing snowballs shouting ‘no pope here’. Lynch turns to Whittaker and says ‘Which one of us does he think is the Pope?’

  • Charlie

    Gréagóir – the further issue here is that it is disgraceful (and somewhat suspicious) that in Ulster, the history of the Scots-Irish – most notably the persecution of Presbyterians by the Anglican establishment, mass immigration to America & their impact on that continent (see James Webb’s ‘Born Fighting’), the 1798 rebellion etc etc – was never taught in Protestant schools. Giving Ulster Prods a true sense of pride in their history and heritage rather than just some half-arsed notion of ‘Britishness’ could make a lot of difference to identity politics in the North..

  • Ziznivy

    “having denied others the opportunity for so long and having cost 1,000’s of lives in the meantime, how can he look at himself in the mirror every morning”

    All that suffering, destruction, wasting time – all to get to a position where Paisley is head bombadier. I hope his conscience kills him.

  • Suilven

    Charlie – I suspect that Presbyterians/Unionists from those parts where the United Irishmen were strong (eg east Down, south Antrim) know more about 1798 than you give them credit for – coming from east Down myself, I’ve always been aware of the main battle sites, graves, characters, etc. However, most with the knowledge are also aware the rebellion in Wexford and thereabouts was turned into a sectarian pogrom by Catholic ‘United Irishmen’, so the attitude has generally been “won’t get fooled again”…

  • Jay Bee

    A classic piece of doublespeak from Dr Ian or is there another explanation?

    1. They’ve moved Ulster?

    2. Ian’s speechwriters are using some chaep piece of software from the U.S. that reverted to default mode?

    Presumably Ian only agreed to do the gig because it was in Farmleigh, where Berties entertains visiting foreign dignitaries and the like

  • Frustrated Democrat


    I wasn’t referring to Sunningdale and the UWC alone I was refering to his actions in the 60’s in the Falls, over O’Neill, his actions over the Civil Rights, mountain tops, his attacks on every UUP leader since O’Neill and practically evething he has ever said or done until he sat down with Gerry Adams.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Tochais Síoraí …cheers, yep it was Jack Lynch who was the Taoiseach of the time whom Paisley threw the snoballs at and not Séan Lemass as I had stated.

    I agree Charlie, Unionists have a rather limited insight of their history and that of the whole island of Ireland.

    Suilven, the incidents at Wexford and Scullabogue were indeed horrific, but mass propaganda was made of the two to break the United Irishmen insurgency and instill fear in Protestants. A fear that is still somewhat bred in the Protestants of Ulster today.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    suilven, maybe check out Scullabogue a bit more, things aren’t always as black and white as they seem. There were protestant rebels amongst the perpetrators and loyalist catholics amongst the victims.

  • The Third Policeman

    While I would never dream of defending the awful slaughters at Wexford Bridge and Scullabogue as Tochais and Gréagóir say it was never as simple as the picture painted. The total deaths from both location amounted to at most 500 (500 too many of course) but in a summer where as many as 50,000 people died the figure is dwarfed.

    Indeed the figure may be very similar to the amount killed and tortured by General Lake’s men during the rape of Ulster.

  • Bigger Picture


    The fact remains that other people’s actions have also been involved in those steps including many Ulster Unionists who later signed up to the GFA in 1998.It is wrong therefore to lay the troubles and thousands of murders at one person’s door.

    Hate his politics if you must (and clearly do) and dont stoop to that level when it is just an argument that has absolutley no credibility