Belfast Telegraph

Ian Paisley death: Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams signs off his sympathies in Irish

By Nevin Farrell

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams signed a book of condolence for Ian Paisley at Belfast City Hall in both Irish and English.

The Union flag flew at half-mast over the council HQ as the book was opened to the public. Hundreds took the opportunity to pay their own personal tribute to the former First Minister.

Mr Adams said: "Ian Paisley is due recognition for reaching agreement with Irish republicans on a peaceful future for all of our people and for the way he fulfilled his role as First Minister, alongside Martin McGuinness.

"Ian Paisley's legacy is a huge challenge for all politicians here and in particular for his successors within the leadership of unionism to continue with political progress and peace building.

"At this sad time I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Ian's wife Eileen and to all of the Paisley family."

Mr Adams said he was glad Mr Paisley had signed up to power-sharing and had worked well with Martin McGuinness.

"It was for the good of the whole island," he said.

Mr Adams told the Belfast Telegraph why he had written in Irish in the book of condolence, which will be presented to the former DUP leader's family.

He said he first penned his message in Irish "because it is my language". He added: "But I signed it in English as well. I signed it bilingually."

He had written: "Sympathy to Eileen Paisley and your family."

SDLP Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon was first to sign he book at 9am and had written: "Dr Paisley underwent a long political journey and has left a lasting legacy. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and those he held dear."

Other messages contained the words which were often Mr Paisley's battlecry: "No surrender."

Mr Paisley based much of his career on former leader Edward Carson and the name Carson features in the book of condolence.

William Carson (80), from east Belfast, said he signed the book "because I wanted a Carson to be in it". He wrote: "One of the best – at peace."

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