Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Paisley to Take a Back Seat

Well the news for anyone with connections to Northern Ireland today is that the Rev. Dr. Ian Kyle Paisley MP, MLA and one time MEP is to step down from front line politics in the province. What that means is that the 81 year old will step aside as First Minister after a year in that office in May and leader of the party he has led for 40 years the Democratic Unionist Party.

The old man of Northern Irish politics will turn 82 just before he steps down. So youngster John McCain, who secured the Republican nomination last night may quote him as an example. However, he will stay on both at Westminster and Stormont for the time being.

In May last year he did what many of us raised on Northern Irish political in-fighting thought would never happen, not only did he sit down with the Sinn Fein leadership but he formed a power sharing executive with them. In recent months he has made numerous appearances alongside his Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness and it is expected that the devolved powers in Northern Ireland can be sustained because of the bold step Dr Paisley made last year.

He has already got in a typical Paisleyesque dig when asked about who would follow in his wake by saying "This is not Apostolic succession" a clear referenece to Papal Elections, however the clear favourite would be long time Deputy leader of the DUP Peter Robinson. If Mr Robinson were to become First Minister I believe he would be the first person to represent the constituency in which the seat of power resides.

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