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Rumours of Retirement

Revolutionary Unionist commentator Dr John Coulter poses the question if DUP boss Rev Ian Paisley has hinted he will retire from Ulster politics once a power-sharing Executive with Sinn Fein is up and running.


Dr John Coulter • 10 February 2007

Ian 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.

Ironically, 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.

The 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.

Paisley 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.”

It 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.

While 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 retirement.

The 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 spin doctors.

However, 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.

But it would not be the first time Paisley Senior has used a hint to unveil a major political initiative within Unionism.

During 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 Thatcher.

Within days of the comments, Paisley was himself part of the campaign to launch the Loyalist paramilitary group, Ulster Resistance, notorious for its distinctive red berets.

Paisley 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.

“I appeal for the mobilisation of the Ulster people. At the moment structures are being set up for that mobilisation.

“I 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.

While 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.
































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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

13 February 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
Helen McClafferty

Martin Galvin

The Heart of Collusion
John Kennedy

Bad Tactics
Anthony McIntyre

The Clothes Make the Man
Mick Hall

Follow the Leader
John Kennedy

Dry Your Eyes
John Kennedy

The Foreman
Anthony McIntyre

Mc Cain and Northern Ireland
Fr. Sean Mc Manus

Rumours of Retirement
Dr John Coulter

Liam O Ruairc

If MI5 rules, What was the 30-year war all about?
John Kelly

PRUC Service
Brian Mór

Nationalists Divided Over Sinn Fein Support for British Policing
Paul Mallon

Remember the B Specials?
Dr John Coulter

The Boyne Harriers
Brian Mór

Coming Full Circle
Seaghán Ó Murchú

The Need for an Anti-Imperialist United Front
Philip Ferguson

28 January 2007

Done & Dusted
Anthony McIntyre

Once Again, The Big Transition
Dolours Price

Plastic Bullet
John Kennedy

Provos Embrace Total Collaboration with British Rule
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

British Policing is Not an Alternative
Francis Mackey

$F Hats
Brian Mór

Policing Problems
Tommy McKearney

SF Seeks to Curtail NI Policing
David Adams

Digging Up the Truth
John Kennedy

State Terrorism Par Excellence
Anthony McIntyre

Collusion: Dirty War Crime
Mick Hall

Repeating the Pattern of the Top Brass
Eamonn McCann

Collusion revelations: disturbing but not shocking
Brendan O'Neill

England's Legacy to Ireland: State Sponsored Terrorism
Richard Wallace

Application for Service in HMPRUC
Brian Mór

The Revolution is the People
Michéal MháDonnáin

Rates and PFI Payments
Ray McAreavey

Reviews of 'Century'
Roy Johnston

A Peacemaker at the Start and the Finish
David Adams



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