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Ex-DUP leader Ian Paisley is the subject of Queen’s course

By Noel McAdam

Published 12/08/2010

Lord Bannside: Ian Paisley
Lord Bannside: Ian Paisley
Daddy's boy: Ian Paisley Jnr is a devoted admirer of his father and says he's proud to carry his name
Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson are taken away by police in Armagh after protesting a vist by Charles Haughey in 1980
Ian Paisley pictured on his weding day to wife Eileen
Ian Paisley aged 12
Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Nigel Dodds with DUP Candidates for Belfast Council Elections. 24/4/89
Ian Paisley DUP electioneering for Europe in Portadown. 11/6/84
The Rev Ian Paisley plays the flute at the independents Orange parade in Portglenone.2008
Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson being arrested in Armagh.1980
15/08/1971 of The Reverend Ian Paisley during a press conference in Stormont, Northern Ireland.
Former Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley holding his first great grandchild Caleb Cassells
Shared laughter between the then First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in May 2007
95. Newly appointed First Minister Dr Ian Paisley, left, presents a 300 year-old musket to Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern at the Battle of the Boyne site, Drogheda, Ireland, Friday, May, 11, 2007. The pair visited the site of the famous Battle of the Boyne 1690 between the Protestant King William of Orange and the Catholic King James's army.
Ian Paisley
First protest march to Belfast city centre. A crowd of students pictured at a meeting with Ian Paisley near Belfast City Hall. Pictured is Ciaran McKeown(with beard). 9/10/1968.
First protest march to Belfast city centre. A crowd pictured at a meeting with Ian Paisley at Shaftesbury Square, Belfast. 9/10/1968.
Unionist protests at visit to Belfast of Charles Haughey, former Taoiseach. Pictured Rev Ian Paisley. 11/4/1990.
Ian Paisley confronts an RUC officer when refused access to Duke Street where the Civil Rights parade went on. 10/10/1988

The apparent transformation of Ian Paisley has long been a source of fascination in Northern Ireland and beyond.

And now the ‘Big Man’ can be studied in the hallowed halls of academia.

Starting in a few weeks, the subject of Ian Paisley will be a course at Queen’s University in Belfast.

Course tutor Cathal McManus said the classes will analyse the “conversion” of the former DUP leader from “Dr No to Rev Yes”.

From his “humble origins”, the political career of a man who was both “loved and loathed, feared and ridiculed”, will be assessed, the prospectus states.

“Though we are not going to shy away from the more controversial elements, the course will try to evaluate the political progress of Ian Paisley,” Mr McManus, a teaching fellow of Queen’s School of Education, added.

“Now of course there are going to be difficulties, given the lack particularly of modern and personal sources, but we can still make a good stab at asking what Ian Paisley wanted to achieve and whether he succeeded.

“The way I am going to approach this is asking was he really rather a clever, fairly adept politician who saw the way to get into power and knew that the political situation would be more stable than previously as a result? Was it all about ending the domination of the Ulster Unionist Party?”

But Mr McManus, who has also written about unionist icon Lord Carson and Irish nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell, said there is so much about former MP and MEP Paisley that is “not black or white”.

“There is a very substantial proportion of the unionist community who could not stand Ian Paisley but were prepared to put their trust in him as someone who said what he meant,” he said.

“There are people now who like him who once loathed him, and people who feel he has betrayed everything he once stood for.”

The tutor said many of those who have already indicated they will be turning up for the course are people who know Mr Paisley as an MP, friend or neighbour — but places on the course are not limited.

“I think we will be able to take as many as want to come,” he said.

The evening class fits into a programme on Irish history going back over the last five years but Mr Paisley is the first contemporaneous individual to earn his own course.

“I want to broaden it out into a study of the whole modern period, in which Ian Paisley has featured,” Mr McManus added.

Now 84, Lord Bannside was not available for comment yesterday but a DUP statement said it was appropriate the former party leader’s contribution should be studied.

“Ian Paisley is a towering political figure in the history of Northern Ireland. Everyone in Northern Ireland has much to thank him for: like his principled stand in support of democracy in Northern Ireland and his key role in establishing the devolved Government at Stormont, it is appropriate that his career and contribution to Northern Ireland should be studied,” a spokesman said.

More info at QUB School of Education

Big Man Big Test

Ten Questions for the Ian Paisley exam paper (with answers supplied).

1 Who said of Ian Paisley in June this year: “Everyone has had to take big risks for peace in Northern Ireland, and no more so than the Big Man, as they like to call him.”

2 Of what did Mr Paisley say: “Never, Never, Never” in 1986 ?

3 Which politician did he brand a “Judas” ?

4 Where was Ian Paisley actually born?

5 How many times did he top the European election poll?

6 Who did he defeat to take the North Antrim Westminster seat in 1970?

7 Name his children.

8 Who did he famously throw snowballs at when he visited Stormont in 1967?

9 Which party did Paisley belong to before the DUP?

10 What was Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s gift to Mr Paisley when they met at the Boyne in 2007 ?

Click here for the answers

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