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Tuesday 26 September 2023 Dublin: 16°C
# edged out
Events outlined by Paisley "simply did not happen" say DUP
The former first minister claimed he was edged out by senior DUP figures after party members took issue with his performance in the role.

THE DUP HAS said that the sequence of events surrounding his departure outlined by former party leader and Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley “simply did not happen”.

In the second part of a wide-ranging BBC interview broadcast last night,  Paisley said that he was edged out by senior party figures in 2008 after a canvass of MLAs found problems with his performance.

The retired unionist leader said that current first minister Peter Robinson and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds met with him after the canvass was carried out and gave him an ultimatum to leave.

According to a DUP statement released following the broadcast:

“At no point were those colleagues named in the programme involved in any meeting where Dr Ian Paisley, as he was then known, was given an ultimatum to step down as Democratic Unionist Party leader.

“Nigel Dodds did not issue an ultimatum that Ian should be gone by Friday nor did Peter Robinson issue any two-month ultimatum. That simply did not happen.

“Nor did any meeting involving those named by Dr Paisley take place in February as claimed in the programme.”

Paisley told the programme-makers that Dodds had told him “I want you to be gone by Friday”.

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

The former first minister said that the canvass of DUP members had contained criticisms of his work in the role — not least his ‘chuckling’ public appearances alongside his deputy Martin McGuinness.

Paisley spent just over a year as First Minister of Northern Ireland, taking office in May of 2007.

Despite often vowing he would never share power with Sinn Féin, he and McGuinness forged a close working relationship while in power.

Images of the pair laughing and joking together earned them the nickname “The Chuckle Brothers”.

imagePaisley and McGuinness at the opening of the IKEA in Belfast in 2007 [Image: AP Photo/Peter Morrison]

Read: ‘Chuckling’ relationship with McGuinness hastened my departure — Paisley

Read: Gilmore: Dublin may get involved if there’s no progress on Haass

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