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Kyle Paisley urges unionism to stay strong after recent political developments

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Rev Kyle Paisley with his late father, Rev Ian Paisley

Rev Kyle Paisley with his late father, Rev Ian Paisley

Rev Kyle Paisley with his late father, Rev Ian Paisley

The son of the late First Minister Rev Ian Paisley, has urged unionism "not to lose heart" following recent political developments in both the UK and Ireland.

Rev Kyle Paisley, who is a minister at Oulton Broad Free Presbyterian Church in Suffolk, was reflecting on Sinn Fein's historic success in the Republic's General Election last weekend, in which the party won the most first preference votes and took 37 seats - just one behind Fianna Fail.

Kyle Paisley also reflected on last December's Westminster poll, which saw the election of more nationalist than unionist MPs for the first time.

"The enormous political changes we are witnessing in British and Irish politics, demand strong leadership and a sharpened discernment in unionism," he said.

Amid Brexit-fuelled calls in some quarters for a referendum on Irish unity, Mr Paisley added: "If a border in the Irish Sea creates an economic division between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, then Brexit will prove itself to be what many have already called it - the child of English nationalism.

"And with the dramatic upsurge in Sinn Fein's political fortunes in the Republic of Ireland, who can tell what pressure might be brought to bear on London to widen the division with Northern Ireland which Brexit has the obvious potential to create?

"A combination of English nationalism and resurgent Irish nationalism makes this a most uncertain time for Northern Ireland. Perhaps the most uncertain time, in respect of its constitutional standing, since its foundation a hundred years ago."

In 2007, then DUP leader Ian Paisley agreed to share power with Sinn Fein as First Minister alongside Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.

What followed became a very public friendship with images of the pair laughing and joking together earning them the nickname 'The Chuckle Brothers'.

Kyle Paisley said republicans are "clearly, cock-a-hoop at the present situation, and their hopes are rising", adding: "The old adage springs to mind: 'A week is a long time in politics'.

"Hopes can fall as well as rise, depending on political developments and how well or how poorly success is handled.

"Nothing is certain until it has happened, and nothing is guaranteed to last. In light of this, I believe that unionism should not lose heart.

"But, it must redouble its efforts to sell the Union, after a poor showing in recent times."

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