The out-going Northern Ireland First Minister, the DUP’s Ian Paisley Snr, gave a number of interviews at Stormont yesterday and the BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport has his conversation, about what Paisley Snr believes he has achieved, at his blog. However, the Belfast Telegraph’s David Gordon wasn’t welcome [Was it something he said? – Ed] as he explains here.
The sessions were running late, but emerging TV political correspondents told us that Mr Paisley was in good form, relaxed and reflective. It sounded like he was demob happy ahead of stepping down as both party leader and First Minister. Our turn finally arrived, and the same DUP press officer made clear there would be no photographers to begin with. He also needed a “quick word” with me. “He’s not going to do it,” was the blunt message. It was confirmed that it was Mr Paisley’s decision to veto me personally. And that was that.
The other two reporters filed towards the room within Stormont Castle where the DUP leader was waiting. I headed back out, into the sunshine and past the spot where Ian Paisley Jnr announced his Ministerial resignation in February. I’m not going to pretend for a second that I was in any way affronted. The First Minister was within his rights to keep me out. At the same time, we are entitled to draw attention to his decision. It may leave him open to accusations of being spiteful, petty and even childish. So be it.