Archive for the ‘Profile’ Category

Profile: Ian Paisley

November 21, 2006

For more than three decades, Ian Paisley has been a towering figure on Northern Ireland’s political stage.

A half century after he first emerged, Mr Paisley’s determination to resist any compromise which might, in his view, weaken Northern Ireland’s position within the United Kingdom has remained absolute.

His politics and religious beliefs are inextricably linked and the Free Presbyterian Church, which he founded in 1951, remains the cornerstone.

Mr Paisley’s large stature and booming voice first attracted major public attention in 1963 when he organised a protest march against the decision to lower the union flag at Belfast City Hall to mark the death of Pope John.

A year later, he threatened to tear down an Irish Tricolour displayed in a Belfast Sinn Fein office, if the authorities did not remove it first.

The authorities attempted to prevent the Paisley march. But in removing the flag themselves, they sparked the worst riot that Belfast had witnessed in decades.