Ian Paisley has left us a legacy of abject failure
In his farewell speech to his constituency association in North Antrim, outgoing DUP MP Ian Paisley said unionism had improved since he was elected in 1970, but at that time "the Union was in a state of crisis" and "unionism was on the back foot and we had entered into a very dark period of troubled times for our land".
There is no doubt, as a result of a sectarian murder campaign by the Provisional IRA, Northern Ireland went through some of the worst years in our history. The failure of successive British Governments to deal with IRA terrorism and the financial assistance the republican movement received from Irish-America were contributing factors to the IRA terror campaign.
Some 40 years on, is Northern Ireland any better? Ian Paisley stated: "I can, 40 years later, say that things have undoubtedly improved." My view on Ian Paisley's accomplishments is one of failure. Northern Ireland has a terrorist-inclusive government with former IRA members in ministerial positions. The Republic of Ireland has an increasing say in Ulster's internal affairs, as the recent deal at Hillsborough proved, and the threat of terrorism is still with the people of Northern Ireland - only the name has changed.
DUP spin-doctors can to portray Ian Paisley's legacy as one of success, but they will never change the words used by Ian Paisley himself when he said: "Sinn Fein will be in government over our dead bodies" at the Twelfth demonstration in Portrush in 2006. The enemies of Ulster haven't changed in 40 years - but Ian Paisley and the DUP have.
Cookstown, Co Tyrone