In quotes: The life and times of Ian Paisley

Dina Rickman@dinarickman
Friday 12 September 2014 14:30

Former Democratic Unionist Party leader Dr Ian Paisley has died aged 88.

The former first minister of Northern Ireland was a controversial figure: he led opposition to any accommodation with republicans for decades and his fiery rhetoric was legendary.

While he was opposed to the Good Friday agreement in 1998 which eventually ended the Troubles, he ultimately shared power with Sinn Fein when he and his bitter rival Martin McGuinness became First and Deputy First Ministers in 2007.

In the brief period that we worked together in the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister I developed a close working relationship with him which developed into a friendship, which despite our many differences lasted beyond his term in office.

Martin McGuiness on Ian Paisley today

My beloved husband, Ian, entered his eternal rest this morning. Although ours is the grand hope of reunion, naturally as a family we are heartbroken. We loved him and he adored us, and our earthly lives are forever changed. According to Ian's wishes his funeral will be private and attended only by the immediate family, as will be his burial.

As a family we appreciate that there will be an expectation by those who admired him to express their gratitude for his life and their sorrow at his passing. To that end we will in due course publish details of a public memorial service which, will be scheduled later in the year. There will be no further comment or statements made by me or the family at this time.

Paisley's wife Eileen today

I believe that Northern Ireland has come to a time of peace, a time when hate will no longer rule. How good it will be to be part of a wonderful healing in our Province.

Paisley's inaugural speech as First Minister in 2007.

Let me smell your breath first, son.

Paisley's regular request to reporters, whom he suspected of drinking, before he would allow them to interview him.

No, I wouldn't.

Paisley's response to John Hume, an SDLP politician who said that if the word "no" were removed from the English language, Paisley would be speechless.

You are a liar.

Conservative Northern Ireland secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew in the Commons in 1993, accusing him of lying about the government contacting the IRA.

Mr Adams would have to repent from his evil ways. I am here tonight by the grace of God, a sinner saved by grace.

Paisley in 1994, when asked if he would shake Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams's hand.


This was Paisley's 1988 heckle to Pope John Paul II at the European Parliament.

Don't come crying to me if your homes are attacked. You will reap what you sow.

Paisley to police who carried him out of the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1986.

Save Ulster from sodomy.

Paisley's slogan in a campaign against homosexuality being decriminalised in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

Today, we can confidently state that we are making progress to ensure that our two countries can develop and grow side by side in a spirit of generous cooperation. Old barriers and threats have been, and are being, removed daily.

Paisley after shaking hands with the Irish Republic's Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2013.

Additional reporting, PA