Belfast Telegraph

DUP shock at exclusion from Ian Paisley funeral

By Alan Murray

Senior DUP figures have expressed surprise and disappointment that they have been excluded from Ian Paisley’s funeral.

One MP, who held Ian Paisley in great affection, told Sunday Life: “I am surprised at the family’s decision, although I respect it.

“But I am a bit disappointed that I won’t be at his funeral. We knew Dr Paisley had been ill for some months but we had no specific details of his condition.

“It’s disappointing that we can’t attend.”

A decision by the family of the late ex-First Minister and founder of the party has effectively banned all but immediate family members and close personal friends from this week’s burial.

And the Free Presbyterian Church, which Dr Paisley founded more than 60 years ago, may not be officially represented at the funeral service, although friends and family in the church will be present, including his son Kyle who is minister at the Free Presbyterian church in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

When contacted by Sunday Life, the current Moderator, Rev John Greer refused to comment.

Since he was replaced as Moderator in 2008, Dr Paisley and his family had ceased to attend the Martyrs Memorial Church which he founded on the Ravenhill Road in east Belfast — even though he and his wife Eileen and daughter Rhonda still lived in the church’s manse.

He had attended other smaller church denominations until his health began to fail significantly a number of months ago.

In a press comment earlier this year, Dr Paisley said: “I think they’re [family] better not going to worship there because they would not be happy and you don’t go to church to sit on nails.

“You go to church to sit in a place where there is rest and peace.”

The DUP refused to make any official comment about the funeral arrangements being private.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph