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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
But you were heavily criticized for your comments…
I made very strong comments about it at the time and, at the time, I was also on the Police Board. A member of that board deemed that my comments were hurtful and wrong about the gay community, and I shouldn’t have said those things. They passed a motion of censorship. As it transpired, they had no power to pass that motion. It was one of those bizarre things that happen in politics. But I think that the next time we went to the polls, the people rewarded me and not them.
Should gay people abstain from sexual intercourse?
I think they should just free them(selves) from being gay. I clearly appreciate that some people have very, very strong tendencies. And it’s like saying to a person, who has other habits or desires, ‘You’ve got to stop that’. It is easy for me to say stop it. The difficulty is for the person to want to stop. And to recognise what they are doing is harmful to themselves, first and foremost, and harmful to society.
These are people in a country which previously had a very strong family value and moral fibre – and that is slowly but surely being eradicated. I’m not saying that is all the fault of people who’ve a gay and lesbian outlook, but all of that adds to the problems society goes through.
The education minister in Poland is bringing in legislation to prevent gay people from teaching in schools. Do you think there is any merit in that idea?
I would take a slightly different view. I mean, if I believe in a society that is tolerant – what a person ‘is’ shouldn’t be the badge that they actually wear. I think the difference is when they start to advocate things that could be regarded as affecting the people they actually teach in that school. As a parent, I think I would be really perplexed if children were taught by a gay activist, but if they were taught by a really good teacher – and I didn’t know what their background was, whether they were Catholic or Protestant, Christian or Muslim, male or female, or gay – that would be the issue, I suppose, whenever it is out there in your face. I think that’s were people get really perplexed by it and say, ‘Well, you know, this should be about a pupil being taught properly. It shouldn’t be about the agenda of the person teaching’. And that’s where I get angsty about it.