Belfast Telegraph

Paisley, Kyle and Conlon get a place in Oxford Dictionary

By Victoria Leonard

The late Lords Bannside and Ballyedmond are among 216 people who have been added to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The prestigious national record of men and women who have shaped British history has been updated to include prominent citizens who died in 2014.

Regarding former First Minister and DUP leader, it notes that "few politicians have had a greater impact on Northern Irish politics in the last 50 years".

It adds: "He was hailed by many unionists as their most steadfast champion, hated by many republicans as the figurehead of Protestant extremism, and for most of his career evinced a combination of bafflement and despair among politicians and the media on the mainland, where it was all too easy to paint him as a figure stuck intellectually in the 17th century.

"Debating his legacy for Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom will keep historians busy for many years to come."

Norbrook Laboratories founder Edward Haughey, Lord Ballyedmond, is described as "only the third person to have sat in both the reformed post-1937 Irish Senate and the House of Lords".

The peer, who was named the third richest person in Northern Ireland in 2013, lost his life in a helicopter crash on his Norfolk estate.

Guildford Four member Gerry Conlon is also listed for the first time, described as exemplifying the "human cost of the Troubles", after he was wrongly jailed for life in 1974 over the Guildford pub bombings.

It states: "Conlon was eventually freed, in 1989, but his father had died in prison, and such were the psychological scars of his own treatment that Conlon endured several years of alcohol and drug dependence and at least one suicide attempt before learning to cope with his 'demons' and becoming a widely-respected human rights campaigner."

The biography also notes the remarkable achievements of Belfast-born rugby player and doctor Jack Kyle, who won 46 caps for Ireland and another six for the British and Irish Lions.

Ulster Unionist Sir Robert Porter, who was the minister for home affairs responsible for requesting the deployment of British troops in response to the 'Battle of the Bogside' in 1969, is also listed.

In addition, former North Down MLA and Assembly speaker Sir John Gorman, who came from a Catholic unionist family and won a Military Cross while serving in northern France, is praised for "his old-fashioned courtesy, charm, and transparent fairness".

Also appearing is Lisburn man Terry Bulloch, who was one of the RAF's most successful U-boat hunters.

Belfast Telegraph

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