Following the death of former First Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive Dr Ian Paisley, The Lord Bannside, MP, MEP, a Book of Condolence will be opened in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels, Chaussée d’Etterbeek 180, 1040 Brussels.
The Book will be available for signing from 13.00 today, Wednesday 17 September and from 09.00 until 17.00 on weekdays until Tuesday 23 September 2014.
Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, Baron Bannside, PC (6 April 1926 – 12 September 2014) was a Unionist politician and Protestantreligious leader from Northern Ireland.
He became a Protestant evangelical minister in 1946 and would remain one for the rest of his life. In 1951 he co-founded the fundamentalist Free Presbyterian Church and was its leader until 2008. Paisley became known for his fiery speeches and regularly preached and protested against Catholicism, ecumenism and homosexuality. He gained a large group of followers who were referred to as ‘Paisleyites’.
Paisley became involved in Ulster unionist/loyalist politics in the late 1950s. In the mid-late 1960s he led and instigated loyalist opposition to the Catholic civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. This led to the outbreak of the Troubles in the late 1960s; a conflict that would engulf Northern Ireland for the next thirty years. In 1970 he became Member of Parliament for North Antrim and the following year he founded the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which he would lead for almost forty years. In 1979 he became aMember of the European Parliament.
Throughout the Troubles, Paisley was seen as a firebrand and the face of hardline unionism. He opposed all attempts to resolve the conflict through power-sharing between unionists and Irish nationalists/republicans, and all attempts to involve the Republic of Irelandin Northern affairs. His efforts helped bring down the Sunningdale Agreement of 1974 and the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985. His attempts to create a paramilitary movement culminated in Ulster Resistance. Paisley and his party also opposed the Northern Ireland peace process and Good Friday Agreement of 1998.
In 2005, Paisley’s DUP became the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland, displacing the Ulster Unionists (UUP), who had dominated unionist politics since the 1920s. In 2007, following the St Andrews Agreement, the DUP finally agreed to share power with republican party Sinn Féin. Paisley and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness became First Minister and deputy First Minister respectively in May 2007. He stepped down as First Minister and DUP leader in mid-2008, and left politics in 2011. Paisley was made a life peerin 2010 as Baron Bannside.