Belfast Telegraph

Ian Paisley discharged after stay in Ulster Hospital

BY MICHAEL McHUGH

Former DUP leader Ian Paisley has been discharged from hospital, his family have said.

Mr Paisley (87), now known as Lord Bannside, led the DUP into power-sharing at Stormont with Sinn Fein in 2007.

He spent just over two weeks undergoing treatment at the Ulster Hospital near Belfast.

His son Ian Paisley jnr said: "I am delighted he is back home again and settled.

"I am very grateful for the wonderful work of the hospital staff."

In February 2012 the former North Antrim MP suffered from heart failure, but made a recovery.

The previous year he had a pacemaker fitted at St Thomas' Hospital in London after falling ill in Westminster.

Paramedics had to revive him following his collapse in Parliament.

Mr Paisley stood down as Northern Ireland's First Minister in 2008 and ended 60 years of full-time ministry in January 2012.

The veteran unionist and fundamentalist Protestant preacher has been a colossus of Northern Ireland politics.

Mr Paisley established the DUP in 1971 and opposed every attempt by successive British and Irish governments to create a power-sharing government between nationalists and unionists.

But in a dramatic change of heart after the St Andrews agreement in 2006 he indicated that the DUP would share power with its former enemies in Sinn Fein.

As a result he and senior ex-IRA member Martin McGuinness became First and Deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland.

They established an unlikely rapport, gaining the nickname "the Chuckle Brothers" because at public events they were often seen smiling and joking together.

Since he stepped down as First Minister Mr Paisley has retreated from public life.

He then preached his final sermon as leader of the deeply conservative Free Presbyterian Church, which he founded in the 1960s.

He was succeeded as DUP leader by Peter Robinson.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph