Paisley is set to quit as DUP boss within a year,
according to a Unionist analysis of a speech by
The Big Man of Northern politics.
the supposedly throw-away remark by the DUP chief
is only now being picked up by Unionists during
the speech he made on 29 January as part of the
controversial debate on more than 100 adults and
young people with learning disabilities being
forced to remain in Antrim's Muckamore Abbey Hospital.
remark came at the end of his speech in a reference
to former SDLP Higher Education Minister and North
Antrim MLA Dr Sean Farren, who had announced his
retirement from the Assembly.
Senior said: I have never experienced retirement
and cannot, therefore, recommend to him (Dr Farren)
what to do with his time. However, perhaps Dr
Farren would like to give me some recommendations
a year from now.
is Paisley's phrase a year from now
which has sparked the Unionist rumour mill into
action, fuelling speculation the DUP chief and
Free Presbyterian Moderator will step down from
both posts within a year of agreeing to a power-sharing
Executive with Sinn Fein and taking up the position
of First Minister.
DUP sources were remaining tight-lipped about
the Paisley comment, the rival Ulster Unionists
were reading it as a signal the DUP boss is set
to follow British Prime Minister Tony Blair into
speculation about Paisley comes amid rumours Sinn
Fein chief Gerry Adams is also set to step down
as party president to take up a more international
fund raising role for the republican movement.
These rumours have been hotly denied by Sinn Fein
a debate has been sparked if the year from
now remark was merely a slip of the tongue
by Paisley, a deliberate leak, and even a complete
misinterpretation of the situation by UUP sources.
it would not be the first time Paisley Senior
has used a hint to unveil a major political initiative
a News Letter interview with me on 20 October,
1986, he outlined that a disciplined mobilisation
of the Unionist community was the only way forward
to smash the then Dublin Accord signed by Taioseach
Dr Garret FitzGerald and Prime Minister Maggie
days of the comments, Paisley was himself part
of the campaign to launch the Loyalist paramilitary
group, Ulster Resistance, notorious for its distinctive
said in an interview that October Monday: If
the British Government, through the Anglo-Irish
Agreement tries to take our liberty away from
us, then there is no other course of action open
for the Northern Ireland people but to do what
Lord Carson did and that is to resist by whatever
force they can muster.
appeal for the mobilisation of the Ulster people.
At the moment structures are being set up for
will also be advocating the enlistment of the
Northern Ireland people in a show of strength
dedicated to die if needs be rather than
surrender to a united Ireland, Paisley added
in October 1986.
the DUP initially gave its full support to Ulster
Resistance, the party quickly distanced itself
from the movement after the paramilitary group
became embroiled in a gun-running deal involving
a large cache of weapons divided between Ulster
Resistance, the UVF and the UDA.