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Paisley remains in intensive care after heart problems

The 85-year-old DUP leader remains in Ulster Hospital on the outskirts of Belfast after being admitted on Sunday afternoon.
Feb 7th 2012, 10:28 AM 1,541 19

NORTHERN IRELAND’S former First Minister, Ian Paisley, remains in intensive care this morning after being rushed to hospital at the weekend.

The 85-year-old member of the House of Lords was admitted to the Ulster Hospital on Sunday afternoon suffering from what has been described as a ‘serious heart condition’.

His wife Eileen has asked for the family’s privacy to be respected “at this difficult time”.

Paisley had a pacemaker fitted a year ago after falling ill while attending a House of Lords meeting. In 2004, during a series of tense political negotiations, he had become seriously ill and later said he had “walked in death’s shadow”.

Paisley, who served as First Minister in the Stormont executive from 2005 to 2008, founded the Democratic Unionist Party in 1971 and held that role until stepping down from the party leadership in 2008.

He was given the title of Baron Bannside of North Anthem in 2010 after giving up his seat in the House of Commons, ending a 40-year tenure, and sits in the House of Lords alongside his wife, Baroness Paisley of St George’s, who has given her peerage in 2006.

Paisley also served as an MEP from 1979 to 2004.

The former moderator of Northern Ireland’s Free Presbyterian Church had preached his final sermon only nine days before his admission to hospital. He had stepped down from his church roles in 2008.

Read: Paisley has pacemaker fitted after brief illness >

Gallery: Hard man: Ian Paisley’s career in pictures >

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Gavan Reilly

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