Belfast Telegraph

It's now time to move on, Kyle

Editor's Viewpoint

Even more than a year after his death, it is difficult to keep the late Reverend Ian Paisley out of the headlines. His legacy lives on, but while there is a need to look at this in perspective, there is also a time to move on.

The latest comments on the Paisley era, or more properly epoch, come from his son the Rev Kyle Paisley, who claims that Northern Ireland would be in a stronger position today if his father had been able to serve his full time as First Minister.

Without doubt Ian Paisley made a major contribution in bringing about the political breakthrough that resulted in power-sharing with Sinn Fein.

Most observers agree that only he could have brought this about, and his achievement clearly contradicts the famous dictum of Enoch Powell that all political careers end in failure.

Historians will view Ian Paisley's latter days more kindly, and his later political achievements may be weighed more favourably than the headline-grabbing antics of his boisterous and bigoted early career as a barnstorming figure.

This revisionist look at history will certainly serve to neuter some of the harsher criticisms of his personality and his hostility towards other politicians, including his fellow unionists.

While Ian Paisley's political career came to a largely successful conclusion, it had largely run its course, and it was right that it made way for the Robinson era, which may come to a conclusion in the near future. Nevertheless, there has been a huge amount of media and other comment about the Paisleys since the Big Man himself left the stage, and this was particularly featured in the revealing interviews with Dr and Baroness Paisley by journalist Eamonn Mallie, who also brings us the latest revelations.

While outside the political mainstream, it can be tempting for people like Kyle Paisley to comment as if you are a main player, but he should heed the advice of his twin brother Ian junior and tone down his criticisms of the party.

Otherwise, there is a growing danger that more people will see this as an example of the Paisley dynasty's refusal to let go and step aside.

Harking back to the Paisley era is not always a helpful of positive contribution to the current political debate.

Belfast Telegraph


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