Belfast Telegraph

Peter Robinson says claims Ian Paisley funded UVF bombing 'fake news'

Former DUP leader Peter Robinson has said claims the late Ian Paisley funded a UVF bombing are "fake news".

A BBC Spotlight documentary contains a claim from a former senior Army officer that Dr Paisley helped fund a loyalist terror campaign in the 1960s.

Among the targets were the Silent Valley reservoir near Kilkeel and the Annalong viaduct.

The allegations will be aired next week in the first episode of an eight-part series on the Troubles made by BBC Northern Ireland's Spotlight team.

Mr Robinson, posting on social media, said: "Nobody who was close to Ian will place an ounce of credibility on the ridiculous claim that he funded a UVF bombing.

"His opposition to terrorism was not posturing it was real and engrained.

"This is typical of the headline grabbing cheap unsubstantiated journalism that picks on someone who can no longer answer for himself.

"Those who remember the events of that period would know with what enthusiasm the authorities would have prosecuted him as he politically challenged the status quo of the day. Fake news."

A BBC spokesperson said the broadcaster had "complete confidence" in the integrity of the programme.

Dr Paisley's son, Ian Paisley, reacted angrily to the claims about his father.

He told the BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show that the allegations were completely untrue and were only being aired because his father had passed away in 2014.

He said that it was "sick" to air the documentary so close to the anniversary of his father's death on September 12.

"There is absolutely no truth whatsoever in what I can only describe as a filthy story designed to try and impugn the reputation of a dead man," the North Antrim MP said.

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