Paisley: the politically incorrect story of a demagogue

I WISH to express my agreement with Donal O’Driscoll (Irish Examiner letters, November 27) concerning Dr Ian Paisley.

It’s about time people started accepting the politically incorrect truth about this man. Paisley has done absolutely nothing to contribute to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland despite his supposed Christianity.

He also has a long history of association with violence. In June 1959, a major riot occurred on the Shankill Road in Belfast following a rally he had addressed. He was a founder of Ulster Resistance whose aim was to bring an end to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, if necessary with violent resistance.

In November 1988, there was an arms find in Co Armagh and the subsequent arrest of a former DUP election candidate brought accusations of links between DUP politicians and armed paramilitary groups. After the Good Friday Agreement, former members of loyalist terrorist groups stated that Paisley was responsible for attracting them to terrorism by his violent and provocative speeches, and they blamed him for much of the violence that had resulted.

In September 2005, he was criticised for stoking unionist violence in Belfast over the 75-metre diversion of a provocative Orange Order march along a thoroughfare serving as a boundary between nationalist and unionist communities. Widespread loyalist riots followed, producing, among other results, what Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain called “serious attempts to kill police in some instances”.

Dr Paisley is a demagogue and a bigot who foments hatred at every opportunity and has spent his whole political career saying ‘no’ — no to Capt O’Neill’s reforms, no to contacts with the Republic, no to Sunningdale, no to the Convention, no to James Prior’s rolling devolution, no to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, no to the Belfast Agreement. He is a most destructive influence whose extremism helped alienate people outside the North sympathetic to unionism.

The reason he has been successful is that he embodies the prejudices and injustices that led to the problems in Northern Ireland in the first place. Paisley is also the worst example of a Christian I have ever seen. He has read many times in the Scriptures (that he claims to be governed by), ‘Blessed are the peacemakers and ‘The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit’. He is all the more guilty for ignoring these precepts.

Michael O’Driscoll

154 Blackrock Road

Blackrock

Cork

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