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"I know that women find it hard to hold their tongues." - The Rev Ian Paisley, silencing a female reporter who dared to interrupt him in mid-flow during a press conference.

"Ian Paisley - he's been thrown out of more places than Alex Higgins." - David Ervine, leader of the Progressive Unionist Party.

"She would say that, wouldn't she." - Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president, on Mo Mowlam's positive assessment of the chances for success of the peace talks.

"David [Trimble] was close to Blair all right, but it's like taking paracetamol. One a day is okay, but this is being asked to swallow 40 at a go." - A senior unionist, speaking about the draft settlement document.

"I sensed a little aloofness. But as soon as he found out that my brother was Prime Minister he immediately treated me as an equal, a truly aristocratic gnome." - Terry Major-Ball, describing an encounter with a fellow enthusiast at a garden gnome convention in New Zealand.

"I will be sending every member of the England football squad an inscribed book of inspirational thoughts, which will be tailored, a mere three-inches- square, to slip under their shin-pads." - Uri Geller, spoon-bender.

"To unbug the millennium, back to the quill pen, say I. Cheap to replace and far fewer clever human input errors." - David Williams, of Evesham, in a letter to The Independent.

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