The death of Rev. Dr Ian Paisley, statesman, politician and Free Presbyterian minister, at the age of 88, was announced on 12 September.
Dr Paisley, the ‘big man’ of Northern Irish politics and Protestantism, co-founded the Free Presbyterian Church in 1951. He was re-elected moderator of this denomination virtually every year for 57 years.
He also founded the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which he led for nearly 40 years. Dr Paisley was made a life peer (Baron Bannside) in 2010, and finally retired from politics in 2011.
In 2007, the DUP joined with Sinn Fein in a power-sharing agreement that signalled the dramatic climax of the Northern Ireland peace process. This resulted in Dr Paisley becoming First Minister and Martin McGuiness (Sinn Fein) Deputy First Minister, an arrangement greeted with very mixed reactions within the Protestant community.
Editor’s note: There will be further coverage of Dr Paisley’s life and ministry in the November ET.