Trimble gloats: I lasted four years as First Minister. He lasted one…

IT’S hard not to detect a strong element of schadenfreude in David Trimble’s assessment of DUP leader Ian Paisley’s demise. Having signed up to the legislative ‘twin’ of the Good Friday Agreement – the St Andrews Deal – the former first minister obviously feels his DUP successor has travelled a similar route to himself – but with less personal success. Accusing Paisley of having lost his credibility and the party of not having been ‘transparent’, Trimble added: “It has to be said that Ian Paisley has had quite an influence in Northern Ireland politics over the past four decades – from the ‘O’Neill Must Go’ phase to the ‘Trimble Out’ era. Most of it, however, has been negative, and when he was called upon to be positive, he failed to measure up. It’s one thing shouting from the political sideslines – it’s quite another thing actually governing a country. I lasted four years as First Minister. He lasted one. And I would ask a final question – would Terence O’Neill have shared power with the IRA while he was Prime Minister of Northern Ireland? I leave that one hanging in the air…”