When Mallie Meets Paisley [over the next two Mondays]

It’s not the first time Ian Paisley has surprised pundits, but apparently for the next two Mondays Ian Paisley Senior makes his last public television appearance in a long interview with Eamonn Mallie, formerly of this parish.  Some fragmentary detail is already emerging from those who’ve seen it.

Dan Keenan notes:

Dr Paisley said: “It wasn’t fair. A fair government is that every man has the same power to vote for what he wants. No, it wasn’t justice at all.”

But he qualified his support and criticised the movement and its leaders, denouncing it as a front for those pushing for a united Ireland.

“Those that put their hands to that have to carry some of the blame for what happened in our country.

“The civil rights movement was tied up with threats and was tied up in other things. It was part of the overall cauldron that was burning and was being heated in various sorts of sections of the community to get their own way,” he said.


Malachi O’Doherty made this observation on  Facebook [link here] this morning:

Mallie’s interview with Paisley is fascinating. He doesn’t say au contraire even once. Paisley, is maybe a bit too old and tired for concerted examination of conscience, or maybe he just never had the capacity for it.

Or was the suppressed rage of it all just too immense/incriminating for any significant actor in the troubles to be entirely honest about their own culpabilities?


  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    His comments on Dublin-Monaghan are genuinely shocking.

  • Its a scoop.
    But Id want to see it first, rather than rely on “trailers”.
    I’m wary of Autobiography (unreliable History) and Mr Mallie calls the exchanges “robust” so presumably its genuinely reflective…a man wanting to set things straight….rather than being allowed to paint himself in a better light for Posterity.
    I sincerely hope that some light is shed on the growth of the FreeP resbyterian Church.
    Based on reports…we can quibble about the intent in different areas.

    His attitude to Civil Rights and Bloody Sunday…to be welcomed.
    His attitude to Clontibret and Robinson….to be questioned as to motive.
    His attitude to Dublin-Monaghan….to be condemned.
    (Interesting that it parallels the attitude of Adams to two RUC victims…..Adams was rightly and roundly slated for that and hopefully so will Paisley)
    A mixed bag.
    But….I think it will be ultimately unsatisfactory. I will be judging it on three other issues, not mentioned in trailers. …the three questions that I would ask.
    If an attempt is made to raise them….success.
    If no attempt made…failure.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    “…Mr Mallie calls the exchanges “robust”’

    We all know how excitable Mallie can be, but he may be right in this case.

  • son of sam

    Let’s wait to see and hear the evidence of the two programmes before evaluation .Apparently there is a related book which will have to be compared to the previous books on Paisley .

  • between the bridges

    ”His comments on Dublin-Monaghan are genuinely shocking.”
    Indeed, imagine big Ian taking a leaf out of the green book…

  • sherdy

    How can his comments on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings be ‘shocking’?
    He has always been the most bigoted hate monger in the country.
    Trying to justify mass-murder is no less than would be expected of him.

  • : “It wasn’t fair. A fair government is that every man has the same power to vote for what he wants. No, it wasn’t justice at all.”

    Paisley never evolved beyond a belief in majoritarian democracy. Presumably he is referring here to NICRA. Although it would be better if the editor (note Mick) had made this clearer. Sinn Fein has also never moved beyond a belief in a united Ireland. So, I can well imagine McGuinness making similar statements from his point of view once he has retired from politics.

  • GEF

    Me thinks this is just a sad and angry old man who will be hitting out in revenge at both the DUP & Free/P church which he was once leader of, but no longer is associated with either.

  • Harry Flashman


    Ian Paisley makes controversial comments about the political situation in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

    Hold the front page!

  • Sp12

    Robinson’s very public statement that his appearance at the Clontibert fiasco was nothing more than stepping up to the plate due to the first batter being suddenly unavailable is interesting.
    Even in his dotage Ian could teach a thing or two to Pilate.

    As men get older they often return to the church to secure their afterlife, Paisley clearly feels he has that base covered.
    What’s left other than attempting to rewrite his earthly legacy?

  • streetlegal

    As perhaps his last political act, Paisley has effectively undermined the already weak hold that Robinson has on the leadership of the DUP. Those waiting in the wings – Dodds, Wilson and even Paisley Jnr will now feel freer to make a more determined push against Robinson – probably before the end of this year.

  • IrelandNorth

    The Chronicles of Norn Ironia. The Methusallah of the North speaketh his final testament. Alas, the Rev Dr Ian Richard Kyle Paisley/Lord Bannside, like too many Ulster unionistas, appears to use an Orwelllian Dictionary of Newspeak. If gerrymandering wasn’t fair, surely that questions the credibility of the N Ireland state. NO Bloody Sunday civil rights protesters were armed, where he suggests SOME may have been. And voices his disquiet with how victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings were hurt, inferring something short of killing might have been morally justifiable. Paradoxical parson. But as controversial as he’s been, something about the man elicits admiration, even to polemical others. The Christianable thing is to wish him well in his reconciliation with an eventful life.

  • tmitch57[7.41] Paisley is predictably enough trying to have it both ways, by saying he was in favourof aims of NICRA but was right to oppose them, but his claim about NICRA being a trjan horse for a UI is spurious as he knew very well at the time that it was only 12 years ago [in 1968] that the border campaign petered out through lack of support from Catholics in NI. He’s trying to justify the electoral abuses inflicted on catholics by making out the campaign wasn’t really about that but a campaign to end the border. It won’t wash with the nationalist community.

  • Charles_Gould

    Street legal. Robin sons hold seems very good to me. I don’t forget how people wrote him off when he put Maze on hold, now he seems in the driving seat as firm as ever. We will see if you’re right…. I doubt it.

  • wee buns

    Seamus Mallon gave a great interview to Pat Kenny on this (when it broke Thurs morning) which unfortunately Newstalk hasn’t included on their podcast do-da. While Rté took an ultra fluffy view towards Paisley’s remarks with all emphasis on ‘senior’ – Mallon offered an astute and detailed synopsis of the context of the remarks, given Paisley’s lifelong convictions. We don’t hear enough of this ‘compare and contrast’ critique.

  • Ms Wee Buns calls it right.
    We must judge this programme on what is not asked, rather than what is asked.

  • DC

    This clip of Paisley is worth keeping in mind when viewing the BBC programme:

  • Harry Flashman

    “but his claim about NICRA being a trjan horse for a UI is spurious”

    NICRA was of course not a Trojan horse for a united Ireland, however that is not to say that it hadn’t been infiltrated by the IRA. The problem is that with the passage of time and the emergence of the Provos we need to differentiate between the IRA of the mid-1960s and what emerged post-1970.

    The IRA at that time had abandoned (the Dublin leadership at least) physical force nationalism in favour of leftist community activism and just like saving Georgian Dublin and other campaigns they regarded the civil rights campaign as a useful vehicle for their activism and encouraged their membership to get involved.

    With the glorious technicolor of hindsight we can now clearly see that the “IRA” involved in NICRA was by no means the IRA whom the Unionists feared, oh no those troglodytes were biding their time nursing their pikes in the the thatch waiting for their time to come around again, and in fairness it didn’t take long, but they weren’t the IRA men who were working in NICRA.

    However just like Reds under the bed, the Unionists were aware that the “IRA” were in NICRA and that’s all they needed to know.

  • Zig70

    I thought Paisley’s phrase ‘I was shocked, very much shocked, that anyone was hurt in that way’ Was unusual use of language. It is the kind of phrase you use if something doesn’t turn out the way you expected it to.

  • Harry Flashman[3.48] ‘…….were aware that the IRA were in NICRA and that’s all they needed to know’

    Naturally, the Stormont top table pounced on the fact of members of the IRA having a presence in but not influence on, NICRA, which gave them cover to justify not addressing the civil rights issue on grounds it was a front for the Provo campaign which couldn’t have started before the late 1969 split in the IRA. Unionists weren’t going to admit publicly there was a just cause in the CR case so they used the old IRA as a proxy to oppose NICRA which Paisley is only now admitting.

  • streetlegal

    Charles – the DUP will rally around Robinson until after the spring elections and even during the now inevitable marching season disorder. But Robinson will be on his bike come the autumn. The Paisley Senior assessment of Robinson will have a huge impact within the DUP who still regard the old man as some kind of god.

  • I think we have to be fair about the leadership “rebellion” thing in all Parties.
    Peter Robinson is 65.
    Gerry Adams is 65
    Alasdair McDonnell is 64.
    David Ford is 63 next month.
    They are all older than a retired old geezer like me.

    Sooner rather than later they will all step down, primarily because they will all think that they have better ways of passing the day.
    Their political enemies and those in the general public who just dont like them will see their stepping down as “mutiny” but very little in the stepping down of any of these four will justify the “Gotcha” headlines they will attract in online message boards.

    Of course the timing of any stepping down will be of significance to the likely candidates to succeed.and how they have jockeyed themselves into contention….Dodds, Wilson, Paisley! Foster, McDonald, Doherty, Attwood, McGlone, Eastwood, Long, Farry ….

    In this particular context, Robinson will be pushing 66 in the autumn of 2014. He is unlikely to contest the 2015 Westminster Elecion and its at best 50-50 whether a man pushing 68 will contest the Assembly in 2016.
    I would not think any decision to step down would be….mostly because of dissent in the DUP ranks. Undoubtedly there is discontent but Time is on their side. It would be completely different if Robinson was in his mid 50s.

  • David Crookes

    Now this is really interesting, fjh.

    There is a false perception in many of NI’s churches that church is essentially for the older people, and that older people are the point of the whole thing.

    If a similar perception begin to affect the political sphere, the future of politics is grim.

    Part of the world that has always given the Papacy a fair bit of stick should beware of the gerontocratic principle. When the time comes to elect a new party leader, don’t automatically choose the person who is next in line by age. Such a choice may help to keep us all concreted in the Troubles, and in the more remote past.

    Quite a long time ago an incorrigible long-haired oldie, who liked to think of himself as having one foot in the groove, was booked to address the youth fellowship of a local church. He arrived on a very loud motorbike, dressed in leathers. For thirty minute he addressed the “fellas and girls” in what he believed to be cool language. Oh, and for most of the time he talked about one supremely trendy person whom all his listeners fervently admired.

    Or so at any rate he thought. After the canonical Nescafe and Rover Assorted, one of the church elders took the oldie aside. “That was good, the way you tried to relate to the young people,'” said the elder. “But I feel impelled to tell you something. Elvis Presley has been dead for seventeen years.”

    Any party which decides to make a clean break with the Troubles by electing a young leader will be voting for salubrity. NI’s party leaders don’t need to be world-class elder statesmen. There are less than two million of us. I am fed up listening to men who were shouting from the backs of lorries when I was young.

  • Iolaire


    “Alasdair McDonnell is 64”

    I thought it was closer to 164. How else can you explain that dead look in his eyes?

    On a more cynical note, I’m inclinded to think this ‘explosive’ interview is as much a vehicle for Mallie’s ego as it is a chance for Paisley to convince us how he’s mellowed and changed.

    Should we expect Mallie’s Frost/Nixon moment? Probably not but in the small pond that is Nornarn, this is a big fish moment.

    Of course I may be wrong and find the interviews turn out to be some of the most compelling viewing we’ve seen since Jim Allister made mincemeat of Stephen Brimstone at the DSD committee.

  • I think its true that near contemporary colleagues of party Leaders will be looking over their shoulders at the young up and coming types.
    I am no enthusiast for the Culture of Yoof….or indeed the narcissistic world of Yoof Politics but I am impressed by some young politicians.

    My impression is that at least one local party has an excellent youth team. Indeed around eight are on the party Executive which means they have already been listened to…and now have their hands on party machinery.
    Whether the wider electorate embraces them is different.
    But people like (say) Nigel Dodds becoming DUP Leader means we would hear words like “continuity”, “interim” and “safe pair of hands”.

    You mention the papacy.
    When Pope John Paul II was elected, it was likely that he was fully expected to live 20 plus years. Arguably thats too long.
    Pope Benedict was not elected for the long haul.
    Nor is Pope Francis.
    Arguably an older Pope …and the precedent of retirement now established….means that there should be constant adjustment of a course.
    When The Queen of England is no longer Queen, the throne passes to her older son.
    Safe pair of hands?
    Interim? just reward for being a deputy for 60 odd years.
    Not that I’m unduly bothered about the future of the English monarchy and the esteem in which it is held by Daily Mail and the Guardian but a student of politics might see merit in that particular succession going to Charles son.

  • Charles_Gould


    David Ford can retire a successful leader, he has achieved a lot for his party relative to where he took over. He has been leading for 10 years. So I expect he will stand down quite soon, perhaps after one of the three upcoming elections.

    Gerry Adams has been leading SF a very long time and can look back with great satisfaction on his political achievements. However, he still sees himself having work to do. I see him in place to age 70.

    McDonnell is new to leadership. He will want to have time to pull things forward. The alternative contenders (now Conall is sadly gone) are all in need of maturation. So he can stay on 5 years.

    Peter Robinson is on top of his game. He has done a lot for his party. They are largely Robinsonite. He has not been leading that long. I imagine one more term as First Minister, taking him another 5 years.

    70 is the new retirement age for us younger generation and I expect our politicial leaders (with the exception of Ford) will get to the best part of 70 unless there is some extreme electoral under-performance – which seems unlikely.

  • Well I was delighted to retire at 53.
    It enabled me to do other things.
    And I’m looking forward to beginning a political career.

  • David Crookes

    Indeed, fjh, preserve us from arrogant Yoof, and at the same time let’s move on a bit. Mr Agnew is one of the most able MLAs, but too many people still see Greenists as weirdoes, and Orangeists as normal. I wish I knew why.

    Some of the growlers and scowlers whom I know on my own side of the fence have a warm-hearted sympathy for farmers who poison our rivers by dumping slurry in them. I want to see the next farmer who does that go to jail for two years. Poisoning rivers resembles murderous violence in one respect: it thrives on impunity.

    To speak very loosely, capitalism and communism have been distinguished by a barbarous attitude to creation. That’s one thing our rising new leaders need to lead us all away from.

    Abolish five quangos, and plant ten thousand trees.

  • Zig70

    Jez, Adams pleased with his political achievements? I’d doubt he would be so blase himself. Maybe wistful about the hand fate dealt him if we are indulging a bit of psychosis.

  • Charles_Gould

    The Alliance SF and DUP have obvious capable next leaders. (Long, McDonald, Foster)

    The SDLP had this time last year but now the next leader is not so clear and the younger talent could do with a few years experience.

    UUP: Mike Nesbitt seems to be doing a better job after a shakey time this time last yaer.

  • Comrade Stalin


    If I have it right Robinson cannot run for Westminster without resigning his assembly seat – once the new rules kick in; this will also effect McDonnell. Which he won’t do, as the centre of gravity in politics here has moved very much toward the assembly.

    It’s actually very difficult for a Westminster MP to stay relevant. The DUP do it by getting involved in a colossal circle-jerk with the batshit crazy Tory right (and of course the honourable Member for Vauxhall). For the rest of the MPs it’s tricky. Naomi managed to pull a sort of a small coup over party funding legislation, but I doubt many noticed this. Sylvia Hermon spends time in Westminster but you would hardly know it. I had to spend a few seconds recalling who the SDLP Westminster team were. That is no reflection on their talents but of the fact that the media doesn’t pay much attention to what is happening over there.

    Regarding the idea of there being some sort of heave against Robinson – I think the time for that has been and gone. Robinson is an arch tactician and he had himself well protected by the time he got around to giving Paisley the boot. If he hadn’t, the DUP would simply have removed him when the various scandals broke in 2010. I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the meeting the DUP assembly group had where they unanimously endorsed him as party leader; but I suspect everyone around the table was told in no uncertain terms that if they booted him out he’d take a hell of a lot of them down with him.

    Sammy Wilson is obviously not at all happy about being thrown out of Finance (and more or less said so in at least one interview) but I suspect once again this is a case of Robinson eliminating potential challengers within the assembly group by pushing them out to focus on Westminster, and handing jobs to up and coming characters to make them loyal. Ian Paisley Jnr has been pushed out to Westminster as well – although fortunately for Robinson it’s been said that he is not a popular figure in the party, with there being a perception that he rose too quickly on the back of his father’s coattails. Gregory Campbell doesn’t have the wit to pull off a leadership contest, although you could see him as a stalking horse, and Nigel Dodds has no interest whatsoever in Assembly politics.

    No, I suspect that Robinson will step down only when he’s good and ready.

  • And to repeat the end of the story about the condemned man who wasn’t allowed to know the day of his execution:
    To his utter amazement, the following Wednesday they took him out and hanged him.

  • Charles_Gould

    I get the impression that the SDLP’s Mark Durkan enjoys the job of Westminster MP, and there is no doubt that he is a respected figure and good orator. He speaks on all the big debates like Gay Marriage and Syria for example.

    Nigel Dodds also clearly enjoys it, and being the second largest opposition party seems to give him good priority at PMQs – he gets to ask questions every time he wants to. Any time he rises, he gets called.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Looking forward to the end of these flag debates. Both the tricolour and the union flag are toxic. It’s time to get rid of both of them. I’m a unionist, but I couldn’t care less if the union flag flies above the city hall again. Both of them have been used and abused by extremists. Can we move on.

  • ” but his claim about NICRA being a trjan horse for a UI is spurious as he knew very well at the time that it was only 12 years ago [in 1968] that the border campaign petered out through lack of support from Catholics in NI. ”


    Actually at that point the border campaign had only been called off six years earlier. Although it didn’t make much progress from 1958 onwards it took the IRA a while to realize this–something that also occurred in the 1990s.

    The import of my remark is that once McGuinness is retired he will probably make similar unreconstructed remarks that will be just as offensive to unionists.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Alan – I’ll drink to that.

  • Charles_Gould

    Like Alliance I feel that the Haass proposal on Flags is a Cop-Out and better is possible.

  • DC

    Alan N/ards, you know what to do next election then?

    Vote to eliminate yourself

    Turn into Comrade above.

  • carl marks

    DC, you come out with high sounding statements that make no sense and when challenged on them you refuse to defend them.
    You fail to recognise that unionism has used the union flag as a sectarian banner; you demand that nationalists respect your flag but you don’t seem to have a problem with unionists disrespecting it!
    You say more time was needed but this has been coming for 10 years, how would 2 make a difference?
    Now 365 is gone, not coming back the protests have petered out, the world hasn’t ended you are still British no less than you were before designated days (even when a UI comes you will I imagine still be entitled to a British Passport, dual citizenship will probably continue).
    This whole thing strengthened both Alliance and moderate unionists hand, not because of designated days but because the corner boys protesting disgusted a lot of people.
    You are to say the least confused about what the constitution actually is and seem to think the law is something you can make up as it suits.
    Your beat kid, this is a dead parrot pick a fight you can win!

  • tmitch57[12.12] I’ve no doubt you’re going to be proved correct in predicting McGuiness will put in a similarly self justifying performance when his legacy needs to be burnished and calls Mallie to arrange the stage to be set.
    As in Macbeth it’s Out Out, brief candle. all that strutting and fretting for nowt.

  • Iolaire

    Perhaps a more appropriate quote for both would be “Out, damn spot”?

  • DC

    There’s nothing sectarian in the union flag and I haven’t abused it and would like it left alone and think that people should think again about terming it as contentious as it is the sovereign flag – and just a flag after all.

    Besides all I was doing this time round was encouraging Alan to Vote to Eliminate Yourself.

    He knows what to do if he wants to do that, follow Comrade, Ford and Long along the yellow brick road.