Belfast Telegraph

Ian Paisley MP: Documentary a calculated insult to dad's memory by agenda-driven BBC

Ian Paisley, the former Northern Ireland first minister, with his son Ian Paisley Jnr (PA)
Ian Paisley, the former Northern Ireland first minister, with his son Ian Paisley Jnr (PA)

By Ian Paisley MP

BBC Northern Ireland wanted to do a serious documentary about the Troubles anniversary, but unfortunately our national broadcaster has an agenda.

They do not want to have to lay the blame with the IRA. No, that would crush the sensitivities of republicans.

So the BBC NI agenda is to make sure the IRA doesn’t get the blame. It’s called rewriting history.

In order to do this they have decided that if they are going to have to report the uncomfortable and inescapable facts that certain people in the republican movement were involved in the IRA — and the evidence and convictions are there to prove it — BBC NI must sanitise these facts with a counterbalance that the future leader of unionism was the early financier of UVF terrorism attacks.

The BBC NI documentary tells a history that everyone is guilty and both sides are equally responsible.

This allows them to then claim Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness were opposite sides of the same coin.

Let us look at what they say.

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An Army officer, now retired, heard and saw evidence from a unnamed police inspector (hearsay) that was supposedly evidence that Ian Paisley financed a UVF operation to blow up a reservoir in Kilkeel in 1969.

Now at the time Ian Paisley was a minister of religion of a small Belfast church, unelected and on a meagre salary, raising five kids in Belfast — hardly the profile of a terror financier.

His sermons and his political activism had earned him a reputation as an orator worth listening to.

His involvement in politics had earned him a three month jail sentence in 1969 for civil disobedience — indeed at the time of the bombing he was in jail.

Now let’s be clear, if this colonel chappie had seen evidence linking this bombing to Ian Paisley at a time when the government were doing their best to convict my father of incitement, don’t you think the evidence might have made its way from the Army and the police to the courts?

Of course BBC NI produce no evidence, just a third-hand witness. They fail to produce the police officer — a district inspector no less.

The BBC Spotlight programme about my dad is just untrue and everyone who knew him or worked with him knows that.

My Mum has described it as “filthy lies”.

She is best placed to know the character of my dad and all his actions.

Probably one of the most respected people in Northern Ireland today, her condemnation will be enough for any right-thinking person.

The BBC NI decision to broadcast the programme in the week of the five-year anniversary of my father’s death is designed to cause maximum hurt to my mother and family.

At no point did the BBC contact mum or me or the family to ask for counter evidence or even put this to us, but instead they deliberately bounced the story on us.

The other great self-proclaimed exclusive badge the BBC have to its story is that the government ordered Ian Paisley’s sermons and speeches to be recorded.

Hardly a new story — it has been known about and written about for years.

The fact they couldn’t pin anything on him after thousands of hours of secret recordings appears to be missed by the self-appointed investigator that is BBC NI.

In fact, it takes a perverse view that the fact he was recorded means he must be guilty.

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