Ian Paisley

Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, Baron Bannside PC (6 April 1926 – 12 September 2014) was a Northern Irish loyalist politician and Protestant religious leader who served as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from 1971 to 2008 and First Minister of Northern Ireland from 2007 to 2008.

The Lord Bannside

Ian Paisley in 2008
First Minister of Northern Ireland
In office
8 May 2007  5 June 2008
Serving with Martin McGuinness
Preceded byDavid Trimble (2002)
Succeeded byPeter Robinson
Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party
In office
30 September 1971  31 May 2008
DeputyWilliam Beattie
Peter Robinson
Preceded byParty established
Succeeded byPeter Robinson
Parliamentary representation
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
5 July 2010  12 September 2014
Life peerage
Member of the Legislative Assembly
for North Antrim
In office
25 June 1998  25 March 2011
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byDavid McIlveen
Member of Parliament
for North Antrim
In office
18 June 1970  12 April 2010
Preceded byHenry Clark
Succeeded byIan Paisley Jr
Member of the European Parliament
for Northern Ireland
In office
7 June 1979  10 June 2004
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byJim Allister
Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament
for Bannside
In office
16 April 1970  18 July 1973
Preceded byTerence O'Neill
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Ian Richard Kyle Paisley

(1926-04-06)6 April 1926
Armagh, Northern Ireland
Died12 September 2014(2014-09-12) (aged 88)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Resting placeBallygowan, County Down
Political partyDemocratic Unionist Party (1971–2014)
Other political
Protestant Unionist Party (1966–1971)
(m. 1956)
Children5; including Rhonda and Ian Jr
Alma materBarry School of Evangelism
Political activist
WebsiteOfficial website

He became a Protestant evangelical minister in 1946 and remained one for the rest of his life. In 1951 he co-founded the fundamentalist Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster and was its leader until 2008. Paisley became known for his fiery sermons and regularly preached and protested against Roman Catholicism, ecumenism and homosexuality. He gained a large group of followers who were referred to as Paisleyites.

Paisley became involved in Ulster unionist/loyalist politics in the late 1950s. In the mid-late 1960s, he led and instigated loyalist opposition to the Catholic civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. This contributed to the outbreak of the Troubles in the late 1960s, a conflict that would engulf Northern Ireland for the next 30 years. In 1970 he became Member of Parliament for North Antrim and the following year he founded the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which he would lead for almost 40 years. In 1979 he became a Member of the European Parliament.

Throughout the Troubles, Paisley was seen as a firebrand and the face of hardline unionism. He opposed all attempts to resolve the conflict through power-sharing between unionists and Irish nationalists/republicans, and all attempts to involve the Republic of Ireland in Northern affairs. His efforts helped bring down the Sunningdale Agreement of 1974. He also opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, with less success. His attempts to create a paramilitary movement culminated in Ulster Resistance. Paisley and his party also opposed the Northern Ireland peace process and Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

In 2005, Paisley's DUP became the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland, displacing the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), which had dominated unionist politics since 1905 and had been an instrumental party in the Good Friday Agreement. In 2007, following the St Andrews Agreement, the DUP finally agreed to share power with republican party Sinn Féin. Paisley and Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness became First Minister and deputy First Minister respectively in May 2007. He stepped down as First Minister and DUP leader in mid-2008,[1][2] and left politics in 2011. Paisley was made a life peer in 2010 as Baron Bannside.[3]