Ian Paisley claims DUP chiefs ousted him from office

Ian Paisley claims DUP chiefs ousted him from office

THE second part of the Ian Paisley interview has opened up a sore of wounds with the former DUP leader claiming he was ousted from office.

The former Free Presbyterian moderator claims his one-time trusted lieutenants Peter Robinson and Nigel Dodds were behind his fall from grace.

However, his interview to be screened tonight on BBC1 Northern Ireland has brought strong rebukes from Mr Robinson and and Mr Dodds.

They both strenuously deny the claims of Dr Paisley and his wife Eileen.

The programme has been shrouded in controversy.

Last week a press screening of the programme was cancelled after the DUP is said to have raised objections to claims by Dr Paisley and demanded rights to reply before it was aired.

At the time of his departure in 2008, denied back then that he was forced to quit, particularly off his “chuckling” relationship with deputy first minister Martin McGuinness.

In the programme, Paisley: Genesis to Revelations, the former DUP leader claimed his special adviser, Timothy Johnson, presented him with a survey of DUP MLAs at Stormont.

It is said to have contained contained criticisms of his work as first minister.

Mr Paisley has alleged a meeting soon followed, involving Mr Robinson, Mr Dodds, party whip Lord Morrow and Mr Johnson.

“Nigel Dodds said to me I want you to be gone by Friday,” he said.

“I just more or less smirked and Peter said ‘no, no, no he needs to stay in for another couple of months’.”

Eileen Paisley said her husband was “assassinated with words and deeds”.

She tells the programmed that he was treated shamefully and was left with no option but to stand down.

“I detected a nasty spirit arising from some of the other MPs and the way they spoke to Ian,” Mrs Paisley said.

“I was very annoyed one day with the way some of them spoke to him and addressed him.

“Whenever they said to him about what was going on and he said to them ‘well that’s what should be done’ and they said ‘och doc’, you know? Sort of, ‘don’t be so stupid’. That sort of set the alarm bells ringing in my head.”

Mr Robinson and his colleagues have said no such meeting took place as described, that the timing of Mr Paisley’s departure was a matter for him and the passage of time had diminished his recollection.

In a statement, Mr Robinson said: “There are many who will believe that in agreeing to participate in these interviews Lord Bannside will have done nothing to enhance his legacy.

“They will struggle to reconcile the spirit and tone he presents with that which they will have known and admired. This is not the Ian Paisley we knew.

“As someone who faithfully served Dr Paisley for many decades I will make one final sacrifice by not responding and causing any further damage to his legacy beyond that which he has done himself.

“Rather than return insult for insult, let me bless him with the mercy of my silence and wish him well,” Mr Robinson added.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds: “I am personally very saddened to learn of the tone and contents of the latest programme on Lord Bannside.

“Clearly the passage of time has diminished accurate recall of events.

“What is being said now by Lord Bannside about meetings is inaccurate and stands in stark contrast to everything that he said and did at the time and, indeed, during the years since,” Mr Dodds added.

Mr Johnson said the 2008 survey was carried out at Dr Paisley’s request and rejected any suggestion it was framed to bring about the leader’s removal.

In a statement, he said: “Dr Paisley commissioned the survey and was aware of its nature and its findings at the time.

“At no point then or since has Dr Paisley or Mrs Paisley sought to raise these concerns with me despite having had every opportunity to do so.”

Mr Johnson added: “After a long and distinguished career it is very regrettable that Dr Paisley, as well as Mrs Paisley, and those who now advise them, have co-operated in the making of two programmes that have significantly and irreversibly damaged his historical legacy.

“Unsurprisingly the events of that time have not been accurately recalled and indeed the ‘research’ used by the production staff is wrong in many significant respects.”

Part Two of Paisley: Genesis To Revelation – Face To Face With Eamonn Mallie is on BBC One NI on Monday, January 20, at 10.35 pm.

Share |


BD Top 5
Email Us