- Category : 1926-births
- Type : PE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (12,35)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 1
Ian Paisley was a politician and religious leader from Northern Ireland. As the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), he and Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness were elected First Minister and deputy First Minister respectively on 8 May 2007.
In addition to co-founding the DUP and leading it from 1971 to 2008, he was a founding member and was Moderator for 57 years of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. In 2005, Paisley's political party became the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland, displacing his long-term rivals, the Ulster Unionists (UUP), who had dominated unionist politics in Northern Ireland since before the partition of Ireland.
On 4 March 2008 Paisley announced that he would step down as First Minister and leader of the DUP after the US-Northern Ireland Investment Conference in May 2008. Peter Robinson took over as DUP leader on 31 May 2008, and replaced Paisley as First Minister on 5 June 2008. Paisley was made a life peer in the Dissolution Honours List of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, ennobled on 18 June 2010 as Baron Bannside, of North Antrim in the County of Antrim.
An extreme fundamentalist cleric who founded his own church (Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster), and his own political party (Democratic Unionists), Paisley came to prominence as a rabble-rousing anti-Catholic. He had a reputation for being a hard-working MP for all his constituents, regardless of religion, and for a sense of humour. His transformation from demagogue to statesman and peacemaker between opposing communities in Northern Ireland is an object lesson to politicians across the spectrum. History will probably judge him with a degree of respect.
He died on 12th September 2014.