Tags: Paisley | politics | NIreland | protestant

Firebrand Paisley Quits Northern Ireland Politics

Tuesday, 02 Mar 2010 09:49 AM

BELFAST -- Former DUP leader the Rev. Ian Paisley has confirmed that he will not be standing in the forthcoming general election.

The 83-year-old founding father and ex-leader of the Democratic Unionist Party is to relinquish the North Antrim seat he first won in 1970.

His decision could open the way for his son, Ian Paisley Jr., to stand as the DUP's candidate in the constituency.

The contest is expected to be a tight one, with the leader of the hardline Traditional Unionist Voice party, Jim Allister, having announced his intention to run in North Antrim. The DUP will officially select its Westminster candidate for the North Antrim seat next week.

Paisley announced his decision to stand down in his local constituency paper, the Ballymena Guardian.

Famed for his firebrand oratory, Paisley Sr. was a founding member of the Free Presbyterian Church in Ireland in 1951. His evangelical theology heavily influenced his political views. Throughout the Troubles, he forthrightly denounced Catholicism and the papacy.

During the conflict he was a fierce critic of power-sharing with nationalists and of the Republic of Ireland's having a say in Northern Ireland's affairs. But in his later political life, the one-time cheerleader for hardline unionism underwent somewhat of a political conversion, which finally saw him enter office with his long-time enemy, Sinn Fein.

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BELFAST -- Former DUP leader the Rev. Ian Paisley has confirmed that he will not be standing in the forthcoming general election.
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Tuesday, 02 Mar 2010 09:49 AM
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