More News From Northern Ireland

From Reuters. Thank goodness for U-turns.

Northern Ireland Firebrand Ian Paisley Dies

Firebrand Protestant cleric Ian Paisley, whose unlikely alliance with bitter Catholic rivals helped to bring a belated peace to Northern Ireland, died on Friday aged 88, his family said.

As the leading light of hardline Unionism, which wants to maintain links to the United Kingdom, Paisley stringently opposed any concession to the mainly Catholic nationalist community’s desire for closer ties with the Irish Republic to the south.

But in a dramatic u-turn seven years ago, Paisley agreed to share power with former foes to become first minister in Northern Ireland’s devolved government.

“I think we confounded the world by him, a pro-British, pro-Unionist politician, being able to work in a positive spirit with myself, an Irish Republican,” said former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness, who became Paisley’s deputy.

“A friendship grew out of that, and it’s a friendship that lasted to this very day,” McGuinness, the province’s deputy first minister, told the Irish national broadcaster RTE.

Another obituary from The Telegraph (London). One interesting nugget:

In July 1966, after several attempts, Paisley achieved a modest martyrdom by getting sent to jail for three months after insulting Presbyterian dignitaries for their “Romanising tendencies”. While inside he wrote an “exposition” on St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, which won him an honorary doctorate from Bob Jones University in South Carolina; he took up the title of “Doctor” with enthusiasm.