not a member? click here to sign up
He’s the son of a preacher man
His father, the Rev. Ian Paisley, has been one of the dominant figures in Irish politics over the past 40 years. Now Ian Paisley Jnr is a Junior Minister in the new Northern Ireland administration. So how different is he from his father? And how does he feel about cross border co-operation, education, abortion and homosexuality?
Jason O'Toole, 11 Jun 2007
So you don’t believe there will ever be a united Ireland?
I don’t believe my children will be living in a united Ireland. I believe they will be living in a British Ulster.
Some Unionists believe that Sinn Fein still have questions to answer about issues like the Northern Bank raid and the Columbia three?
Oh, yeah. I think one of the biggest challenges that is going to happen in the next few years is with our historical enquiries team – which is a team set up to look into unresolved or unsolved murders and unsolved crimes – because, whenever they turn up (something), a prominent member of Sinn Fein is (always) involved in one of these things from the past. How is Sinn Fein going to deal with that? That is going to be a huge test for these institutions. Does Sinn Fein try to cover for that person? Or does Sinn Fein say, ‘No. He must now go forward and face due process and accept the outcome’. And I think that is going to be a huge challenge. That challenge is coming sooner rather than later.
The marching season will be starting shortly.
It is a huge issue. A huge cultural issue. It is one of those things, which if it isn’t resolved, or (there is) another big problem around it, the political consequences could be huge. So we have got to make sure that parties do work towards a quiet summer. The consequences for the tourism industry and everything else are massive.
Is it not simple to exempt certain Catholic streets from the marches?
I am hoping we get to the position where marching actually doesn’t do any harm. It lasts a few minutes – it’s a bit of craic. Enjoy it for what it is – it’s a spectacle. If we can get to that perspective, then hopefully the rioters will leave us alone.
So should you be trying to encourage Catholics to participate in marching season?
I think it would be hard to encourage Catholics to celebrate the defeat of King James at the Boyne. I mean, I’m a realist. But I do think that we can encourage people to celebrate the fact that we are different, to allow people to celebrate their… differences. I don’t try to molest or prevent Hibernian marches. They are entitled to enjoy themselves.