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Martin McGuinness was 'emotional' over Ian Paisley's coffin, reveals widow

By Staff Reporter

Published 01/01/2016

Chuckle Brothers: The late Rev Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinn
Chuckle Brothers: The late Rev Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinn

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness became "quite emotional" when he visited the Paisley home after the death of Rev Ian Paisley, the former First Minister's widow has revealed

Baroness Eileen Paisley said that the Deputy First Minister and former IRA commander "went in and bowed his head [over the coffin] and was quite emotional about it".

Attack: Baroness Eileen Paisley also hit out at Peter Robinson
Attack: Baroness Eileen Paisley also hit out at Peter Robinson

"I think that says a lot because you can't put that sort of thing on - he was genuine," Baroness Paisley added.

She also told how she felt Mr McGuinness's gesture was a testament to the calibre of the relationship that had developed between the two men - who were once sworn political enemies - over their time at the head of the Northern Ireland Executive.

"I think that speaks volumes for the influence Ian had on him and for the absolutely unique friendship that came about between them," she said.

The warmth and jocularity of the public rapport that developed between Mr McGuinness and the Rev Paisley during their time in charge of Stormont led to the pair men being dubbed the Chuckle Brothers.

During an interview on the BBC Talkback programme, Baroness Paisley also told how her late husband had felt "betrayed" over the way he had been treated by the DUP before standing down in 2008.

She said it had been "very hurtful because Ian had given them the best years of his life".

"I mean, Christ was betrayed, so we can't expect anything better from people - humanity is what it is," Baroness Paisley added. "I'm disappointed in it, what they did."

The Rev Paisley's exit from the political spotlight came shortly after his resignation as moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church.

His widow's comments mark another stage in a long-running dispute between the Paisley family and the DUP.

Eight months before his death, the Rev Paisley claimed that he had been forced to quit as party leader and First Minister.

He blamed Peter Robinson, who later succeeded him as leader and First Minister, and party deputy leader Nigel Dodds. However, both men later rejected Mr Paisley's account of events.

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