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Death of Ian Paisley

  • September 16th, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

Paisley IanThe death of Ian Paisely in Northern Ireland occurred in a period of hope for lasting peace there; writes Lee Duffield.
All sorts of social movements can get up enough votes under the electoral system of the European Parliament, to get them some seats, which then become a resource for their activities.

The Reverend Ian Paisley, in 1988, at the extreme wing of the Protestant unionist movement in Northern Ireland, had been elected there, and announced his opposition to a visit by the Pope.

When the Pontiff  -John Paul II- entered the chamber at Strasbourg, I saw Paisley on his feet, bellowing about the “anti-christ” in their midst. They had to exclude him form the chamber. See contemporary news report,, (16.9.14).

The Northern Ireland situation later took its own peculiar course, ultimately for the better.

The moderate parties on both sides were eclipsed at elections in 2007 by the parties on the two extremes, Sinn Fein and Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party.

They both then acted moderate, and carried through the agreed peace, the St Andrews Agreement, forming a joint government with Ian Paisley as First minister; that peace between the parties looks to be holding still.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPicture, the writer at Stormont, the Northern Ireland parliament; journalist colleagues in the tea room pointed out lapsed ‘murderers’ at adjacent tables.

Ian Paisley is credited with his part in the peace; in his own mind and among his own kind he was a Christian; perhaps in his maturity he ended up saving more lives than he earlier jeopardised as an agent of bitter conflict.

To ‘balance’ this I should mention a meeting with the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. IRA terrorists had shot dead two young Australian men in the Netherlands, almost incredibly in mistake for British soldiers on leave. He wanted to express regret through Australian media and in the line of duty the interview was done.

Ian Paisley was born at Armagh in 1926, four years after the Irish free state seceded from the United Kingdom, leaving the loyalist rump in the North to persevere as a part of Great Britain; a child of turbulent times, at last more settled, he died in Belfast last Friday.