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Ian Paisley discharged after stay in Ulster Hospital

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Former Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley has spent just over two weeks undergoing treatment at the Ulster Hospital near Belfast

Former Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley has spent just over two weeks undergoing treatment at the Ulster Hospital near Belfast

 Ian Paisley being interviewed by the BBC's Eamonn Mallie

Ian Paisley being interviewed by the BBC's Eamonn Mallie

Irish President Michael D Higgins (left) shares a joke with Ian Paisley during a reception at Belfast City Hall last year

Irish President Michael D Higgins (left) shares a joke with Ian Paisley during a reception at Belfast City Hall last year

Rev Ian Paisley grabs journalist Ivan Little during a TV interview at the North Antrim count at Ballymoney in the Northern Ireland election, November 27 2003

Rev Ian Paisley grabs journalist Ivan Little during a TV interview at the North Antrim count at Ballymoney in the Northern Ireland election, November 27 2003

Ian Paisley and Bertie Ahern in a symbolic gesture as the musket is handed over

Ian Paisley and Bertie Ahern in a symbolic gesture as the musket is handed over

Ian Paisley gets a kiss for luck from his wife Eileen at the 2007 Stormont Assembly Election count

Ian Paisley gets a kiss for luck from his wife Eileen at the 2007 Stormont Assembly Election count

Ian Paisley demonstrates at Stormont in 1981

Ian Paisley demonstrates at Stormont in 1981

Former DUP leader Ian Paisley wearing the traditional red beret of paramilitary group the Ulster Resistance in Ulster Hall

Former DUP leader Ian Paisley wearing the traditional red beret of paramilitary group the Ulster Resistance in Ulster Hall

Ian Paisley leaves Crumlin Road jail in the 60s

Ian Paisley leaves Crumlin Road jail in the 60s

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Former Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley has spent just over two weeks undergoing treatment at the Ulster Hospital near Belfast

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.

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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.


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