10 years on from Ian Paisley’s departure

10 years ago today, Ian Paisley announced he was resigning was DUP and First Minister. He didn’t officially go until May. Paisley was succeeded by his long time deputy, Peter Robinson. In a rare moment of North-South cooperation, Bertie Ahern stood down as Taoiseach at the same time and was also succeeded by his Finance Minister, Brian Cowen. Here is the story breaking on UTV and his interview with the station Political Editor, Ken Reid   David McCannDavid McCann holds … Read more

1991: Negotiating a Strand 2 talks venue + complaints that Paisley was locked out of his toilet #20YearRule

One single buff-coloured file, three or four inches thick, contains the stapled minutes of NIO meetings with political parties in May 1991 as they negotiated about the strand one, two and three talks. While perhaps the single most frustrating file I’ve flicked through in PRONI over the last couple of years, the level of detail in the civil service minutes of meetings is incredible, and the retention of humorous asides provides a lot of colour about the characters involved and their relationships.

Unruly politicians disrupt Assembly chamber; police remove 18 members including Ian & Eileen Paisley #20yearrule

EIGHTEEN MEMBERS were removed from the Assembly Chamber at the behest of the Speaker after anti-Sunningdale members refused to move from the Executive’s front benches and disrupted proceedings. A 1974 letter describing events from the Sergeant-at-Arms to the Clerk of the Assembly has now been released.

Ian Paisley – “We are Irish!”

    Of the DUP membership, 1.4% self-identify as Irish. Yet the founder of the DUP was 100% Irish. This is not speculation or conjecture or troublemaking, this is a statement of fact based upon unequivocal and repeated testimony from Ian Paisley. Ian paisley wrote in 2012 on the centenary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant: “Edward Carson was a life-long Irishman, as well as being a life-long unionist, and that made all the difference… On this 28th day … Read more

US President Bill Clinton: “We’ve all taken our licks for Gerry”.

The BBC’s freedom of information specialist, Martin Rosenbaum, has been reading through transcripts of calls and meetings between US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, between 1997 and 2000, which were released following a BBC freedom of information request to the Clinton Presidential Library. As he notes, [The transcripts] contain substantial redactions, especially of Mr Blair’s remarks… From the BBC report Much of their discussion was about the Northern Ireland peace process, in which President Clinton played a significant part. … Read more

Cartoon – Spall and Meaney play “Chuckle Brothers”

Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney have been confirmed to play Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness in the movie ‘The Journey’. The news takes us back to 2007 and that momentous event we remember fondly as the “Chuckle Brothers” moment. Contrasting that hope with the toxic partisanship of today it’s probably better to do as they did and laugh it off rather than to cry. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More … Read more

Paisley: hundreds of millions…that would ease burdens in Northern Ireland (updated with Donaldson’s comments on Daily Politics)

This morning’s Independent [not printed in NI, but article available online] carries an interview by David McKittrick with Ian Paisley Jnr on its front page. The DUP’s shopping list has got longer … On the fifth day of electioneering the DUP said to me: stronger controls on immigration and border security, no more bedroom tax, an EU referendum, two percent of GDP spent on defence, and hundreds of millions to ease the burdens in Northern Ireland. The North Antrim MP … Read more

Allister on Robinson, Paisley, TUV’s Future, Irish and Opposition

As the TUV annual conference approaches this weekend, I caught up with the party leader Jim Allister. We talked about his work on the Social Development Committee, the Irish language and his relationship with other parties in the Assembly. (Note I did this interview before Gregory Campbell’s conference speech) I began by asking him how he planned to expand his party and build on the gains they made at the 2014 election. Allister told me that the 2016 Assembly election … Read more

Photo of the day – Ian Paisley, Icon?

You may have seen various posters of Ian Paisley appearing in the Cathedral Quarter Belfast, Corporation St car parks Belfast, the Holylands Belfast, Ballycastle, Antrim and even London. They are by a local artist TLO. I asked him for some background to the work, this is his reply: I am an artist and the Doctored Paisley posters are from a series I made in response to the visual legacy of the Troubles and the cult of Paisley in particular. I wanted … Read more

Cartoon – Degrade and destroy…

    Cartoon of Peter Robinson under fire. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Has anything been happening while I’ve been away?

For the past few of months I’ve been buried in other projects, not least the Scottish referendum. So Northern Irish affairs are as inward looking and deadlocked as ever. Well I never! Paisley’s death passed off with little fuss amid the  customary respect the Irish reserve with fingers crossed  for the recently dead in contrast to the living. How amazing  that at the funeral this most clerical and religious of politicians had no church service  and no political salute.  The elephant … Read more

Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley: a religious and political life fully lived

Any analysis of Ian Paisley in life or in death is tempered by one’s own views of him but also ones own view of post war Northern Ireland events: such is the extent to which the man came to define though actually rarely dominate events. There is circularity to Dr. Paisley’s life: he began as an outsider both religiously and politically. He then became an insider politically destroying the UUP and although not becoming a member of the Presbyterian Church … Read more

Ian Paisley: Skirmisher, preacher and agreeable chuckler…

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.” Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam             The passing of Ian Paisley was always going to be a rough affair. He leaves a lot of enemies and not a little hurt behind. As Tim Stanley noted yesterday, it is almost impossible not to speak … Read more

Ian Paisley: “Assassinated”

Many many words will be written about the late Lord Bannside, the Revered Ian Richard Kyle Paisley. The time for debate on his legacy is later. However on a day in which the First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson said “As a leader of men, a friend of the people, a servant of the state and a voice for the truth Ian Paisley excelled and shone,” and the Deputy Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Nigel Dodds wrote “He … Read more

Ian Paisley, a profile for Prospect Magazine from 2007…

A version of this article first appeared in the May 2007 edition of Prospect Magazine… It’s replicated here on the occasion of the death of Ian Paisley Senior. Ian Paisley has been the single most disruptive figure in Northern Irish politics over the last 40 years. He has also been around longer than anyone else—the 81 year old has been a significant figure before, during and now after the Troubles. Yet at the end of March, the veto-wielding “Doctor No” … Read more

Lord Bannside / Ian Paisley (1926-2014)

Born in Armagh in 1926, Ian Paisley grew up in Ballymena. Religiously he shifted from being an independent baptist preacher to found the Free Presbyterian Church after a Presbyterian church was forbidden to allow him to speak at a meeting in their church hall. Politically, his journey started by campaigning for a West Belfast Ulster Unionist Party candidate through the National Union of Protestants, activism through Ulster Protestant Action and Ulster Constitution Defence Committee, the Protestant Unionist Party and then … Read more

Kyle Paisley, Pastor McConnell & Peter Robinson

Kyle Paisley has commented on the recent McConnell / Robinson Islam debate over on the Eamonn Mallie blog. While there are irreconcilable differences between the theology of Biblical Protestantism and the theology of traditional Islam, this is no reason for any man to go out of his way in order to insult another. One has to wonder what Kyle Paisley therefore thinks of Rev Ian Paisley protesting the Pope or Ian Paisley Jnr being ‘repulsed’ by gay people. All Free … Read more

Cartoon – Fighting the marriage equality tidal wave

  Earlier, David McCann laid out the conservative case for marriage equality. Fellow conservative Andrew Sullivan has written for a number of years on the question and recently called the current situation “The Marriage Equality End Game” and spoke of “The Tidal Wave For Marriage Equality“. Looks like we’ll have to wait a while longer. Andrew Sullivan also recently shared a quaint anecdote from his visit to Belfast in 1995, have a read. Enjoy the cartoon. Brian SpencerBrian is a … Read more

Paisley’s religious legacy

Watching the two hours of the BBC’s documentary on Dr. Paisley brought to mind my blog from six years ago of Paisley and Prospero where at the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Prospero turns to the audience and says “Now my charms are all o’erthrown And what strength I have’s mine own.” At times it felt a bit like Mallie was interviewing a slightly more quick witted version of Leonid Brezhnev in his latter years. I had intended doing a … Read more