Ian Paisley’s tenure laid the groundwork for the devolution of policing and justice to the North, the outgoing Democratic Unionist leader said tonight.
The North's First Minister also used an emotion-charged final address in Belfast to outline his hopes for the final standing down of the IRA’s ruling army council.
He hands over the reins as DUP leader after over three decades to deputy Peter Robinson tomorrow.
“Today those who killed gallant members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) now publicly support the police by a signed pledge, they cooperate with them and supply the police with valuable information which I hope will see the ending of the IRA army council,” he said.
“There has been an amazing turn-around, and please God we will see it come to full fruition.
“We look forward to the time when police powers can be placed in the hands of the people, but that cannot be until these pressing matters are satisfactorily resolved.”