Paisley in intensive care following heart attack
Belfast-born David McKittrick has been reporting on Northern Ireland since 1971, He has written for the East Antrim Times, the Irish Times and was The Independent's Irish correspondent for many years. He is the author of several books including Making Sense of the Troubles (2000) and Lost Lives (1999).
Tuesday 07 February 2012
Lord Bannside, better known as the Rev Ian Paisley, is in intensive care in Belfast with heart problems. Aged 85, he has been prominent in Northern Ireland politics for more than half a century.
Dr Paisley, pictured, a former Belfast First Minister and head of the Democratic Unionist Party, was admitted on Sunday. A statement on behalf of his wife, Baroness Paisley, said she "requests that the family's privacy be respected at this difficult time".
In recent years he made a dramatic turnaround, abandoning decades as a hardline rejectionist opposed to compromise to go into political partnership with Sinn Fein. In particular he formed a warm personal relationship with former IRA leader Martin McGuinness which helped transform the landscape and tone of Belfast politics.
Less than two weeks ago he preached his final sermon at the Martyrs Memorial Church in Belfast, the headquarters of the Free Presbyterian Church, which he founded in 1951.
He stepped down as moderator of the Church in 2008 and from elected politics last year. As well as leader of the DUP, he held the North Antrim seat at Westminster for 40 years. He was succeeded as an MP by his son Ian while he was followed as First Minister by his long-time deputy Peter Robinson.
Dr Paisley has had health concerns in the past, especially in 2004 when he was visibly gaunt at a political negotiating session held at Leeds Castle. He later acknowledged that he had been seriously ill, writing that he had "walked in death's shadow".
He appeared to make a good recovery from that bout, though a year ago he was taken ill in the House of Lords and required the attentions of paramedics. He was later fitted with a pacemaker at St Thomas's hospital in London.
He recently told his congregation that he intended to write his memoirs, promising: "I will be telling some stories that will make some people laugh and others blush."
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Latest in News
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
Scientists ‘incredibly concerned’ for fate of banana as plagues and fungus infections spread across world’s supplies
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Geography ...
Competitive: Nielsen: We are seeking an enthusiastic intern with a passionate ...
£23 - £30 per hour: Morgan Hunt: A fantastic opportunity has arisen within a c...