Hamill’s Beat - Why is Ian Paisley so keen to emphasis his Irishness

Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com
Picture by Matt Mackey/presseye.com

Nowhere on earth should law be made to suit one church or religion. Civil government should be secular government in the interests of a wide range of citizens.

While loyalist drummers swaggered past a Catholic church, the man who taught them to disrespect Catholicism was emphasising his Irishness. The former DUP leader’s transformation would be considered too far-fetched for a work of fiction.

One question must be; is Ian Paisley Senior trying to wind-up Peter, Gregory and company? Probably. He does seem to enjoy being mischievous. We know how much Peter dislikes hearing this place called, “The north of Ireland,” and so on. Or maybe, it’s just that freedom from the need to get elected gives Lord Bannside greater freedom of expression.

“…In a UTV feature on the Ulster Covenant, Ian Paisley arched his eyebrows and referred to ‘this part of Ireland’. He may well have chuckled off camera as well, wrote Newton Emerson in The Irish News.

Then, in his News Letter column Ian went to surprising lengths to emphasise the Irishness of his great hero, Sir Edward Carson. “He was in politics because of Ireland,” says the former First Minister. He even acknowledges that Carson did not want to see Ireland divided. The great leader of unionism would have preferred Irish self-government to partition. Paisley quotes Carson as saying to the British Government back in 1907, “If you are not prepared to govern Ireland according to the ordinary elemental conditions of civilisation that prevail in every country, then go out of Ireland and leave us to govern ourselves.” How ironic then that it was the unionists who brought about partition! Paisley concludes his column with, “…we salute the man who taught us all how to be true Irishmen and women”.

This Ian Paisley must be virtually unrecognisable to his former henchmen. As I say, it’s hard not to think it’s a wind-up.

Still, Ian also offers us a glimpse of something more familiar. Writing about unionist unity he says, “In some unlikely cases it revealed the ugly side of personal ambition and the disease of short-sightedness…” Hmm! That does sound familiar.