Protestant firebrand Ian Paisley dies

2014-09-12 22:58:01 | Al Muslim News
Protestant firebrand Ian Paisley dies

 

Iain Paisley, the Protestant preacher, Unionist and former first minister of Northern Ireland, has died aged 88. His widow Eileen confirmed Paisley, whose name was synonymous with the privince's Troubles and hardline sectarianism, died on Friday morning. Paisley, the founder of the Democratic Unionist Party, was one of Northern Ireland's most polarising politicians in his long political career. He opposed reconciliation with Republicans for decades, until a change of heart when he became first minister in 2007 and led a unity government between Protestants and Catholics. "Dr No", as he was widely known, finally said yes, and his decision cemented a peace process he had done so much to frustrate. From the conflict in Northern Ireland's earliest days, Paisley had prophesied damnation for any Protestant politician or church leader who dared build bridges with the Catholic Church and Republicans. As a figurehead for hardline Unionism, he opposed any concession to the mainly Catholic Republican community's desire for closer ties with the Ireland. In the 1990s, he objected to talks with Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, which led to the power-sharing Good Friday Agreement which came into effect in 1999. Sweet surrender His opposition to talks and and his mantra of "no surrender" to the IRA were at odds with his appointment as first minister in 2007. But once in office, he forged an unlikely friendship with his deputy Martin McGuinness, a senior Sinn Fein figure and a former member of the IRA. "I think we confounded the world by him, a pro-British, pro-Unionist politician, being able to work in a positive spirit with myself, an Irish Republican," McGuinness told the Irish national broadcaster RTE. "A friendship grew out of that, and it's a friendship that lasted to this very day." Yet at Paisley's insistence, they never shook hands. McGuinness said he understood and did not push the issue. Paisley stepped down as leader of the government and his party in 2008, retired as a British MP in 2010 and from Northern Ireland's assembly in 2011. The British government elevated him to the upper House of Lords, giving him the title Lord Bannside, a reference to the river that divides Northern Ireland. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, two sons and many grandchildren..

Tags: #

Latest News

What to Next

Turkey, Iran, Iraq concerned over Kurdish referendum

ANKARA: Turkey, Iran and Iraq have agreed to consider counter-measures against Kurdish northern Iraq over a planned independence referendum, Turkey&rs... More

Three civilians killed in held Kashmir claim police

SRINAGAR: Authorities in India-held Kashmir claimed that suspected militants hurled a grenade at motorcade of a local government minister on Thursday,... More

Trump budget opens new fight among Republicans

WASHINGTON: Republican U.S. Representative Todd Rokita keeps a clock hanging on the wall of his Capitol Hill office that tracks the U.S. government... More

15 dead as migrant boat sinks off Turkey Black Sea coast

Fifteen people drowned and up to 15 more were missing on Friday after a fishing boat carrying migrants sunk off Turkey's Black Sea coast, the coas... More

Iran s Rouhani vows to strengthen missiles despite US warnings

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Friday that Iran would boost its missile capabilities despite warnings from Washington that it is ready t... More

Fresh fires bomb blast in Myanmars Rakhine

Twenty homes caught fire and a bomb was detonated near a mosque in Myanmar's Rakhine state, the government said on Friday, the latest unrest in a ... More

Pakistan tells UN wont be scapegoat in Afghan war

Pakistan refuses to be a “scapegoat” for Afghanistan's bloodshed or to fight wars for others, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told... More

Kashmiris protest atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Dozens of activists staged a demonstration in the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Tuesday to condemn the alleged violence and discriminatio... More

Haj success opens way for talks with Saudi: Iran

Iran thanked Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for its handling of the Haj operations, saying it opened the way for negotiations between the regional rivals. ... More

North Korea nuclear test more powerful than estimated: Japan

Japan's defence minister on Tuesday said North Korea's latest nuclear test was more powerful than initially estimated, with a yield that was a... More

84