Ian Paisley Junior

Ian Paisley, Jr.

The Hon. Ian Paisley, Jr., MLA (born 12 December 1966 in Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for the Democratic Unionist Party and an author. He is the son of the party founder and former leader, the Rev. Ian Paisley.

In 1990, he married Fiona, and they have four children. He is a member of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.

Childhood

Born in Belfast in 1966, Paisley is the youngest child of the Reverend Ian Paisley and his wife Eileen Paisley. He was brought up in a large detached house on Cyprus Ave, Belfast with his three elder sisters, Sharon, Rhonda and Cherith, and his twin-brother, Kyle. Being the younger of the twins, he was named after his father who was the younger of two brothers. He regularly attended the Free Presbyterian Church where his father preached since he was a small child of 2 or 3 years. In August 2007 he was the subject of the third episode of the BBC radio 4 series The House I Grew Up In, in which he talked about a happy childhood and secure family life, despite political problems known as 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland, which only marginally affected the Republic of Ireland or mainland Britain during that time.

Education

After leaving primary school, he was educated at Shaftesbury House College, and then in the sixth form at Methodist College Belfast, before gaining admission to the Queen's University of Belfast. At university, he read Modern History and Irish Politics, and gained a BA (Hons) and MSSc respectively. After finishing his post-graduate studies, he worked for his father as a political researcher and parliamentary aide.

Political career

In 1996, Paisley was elected to the Northern Ireland Forum for North Antrim. Then, in 1998 he was again returned for the constituency to the Northern Ireland Assembly. He is one of three DUP members who have taken their seats on the Northern Ireland Policing Board, and is also the party's justice spokesman and press officer.

Controversy

In 2005, Ian Paisley Jr. came under some criticism for his vocal objections to same-sex marriages. Upon learning that David Trimble's aide, Steven King, had married his partner in Canada, Mr. Paisley was quoted as saying, "It is really astounding that David Trimble should have had a man such as this giving him advice - and must surely cast grave doubts on his own political judgement. I think these sorts of relationships are immoral, offensive and obnoxious". Vagant bishop Pat Buckley described him as the "baby dinosaur of the 21st century", and the Northern Ireland-based gay men's advocacy group, The Rainbow Project, called for his removal from the Policing Board.

He caused further controversy in May 2007, when in an interview with journalist Jason O'Toole in Hot Press magazine, he said "I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and - without caring about it - harm society. That doesn't mean to say that I hate them - I mean, I hate what they do". Dolores Kelly, the SDLP equality spokesman called on the Northern Ireland Assembly to censure Mr Paisley, saying "Ian Paisley is a junior minister in the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, the department which is charged with promoting equality and bringing forward the Single Equality Bill. Vulnerable groups who are potential victims of discrimination should be able to look to him for help, not attack". However, the DUP denied that Paisley Jr.'s comments were discriminatory.

Catchphrase host Roy Walker described him on a 2005 NI Celebrity Christmas Special of the show as "the poster boy for legalised abortion". A ruccous ensued where Paisley got the living daylights beaten out of him by "Clonous Cyclone" Barry McGuigan and 's lead singer who feared he might be next if he didn't back McGuigan up.

There was continued controversy over the summer of 2007 over the nature of the relationship between Mr Paisley and property developer Seymour Sweeney. On 11th September 2007 North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA, Daithí McKay, used parliamentary privilege to name Sweeney as a member of the DUP in the Assembly, and suggested that there was a strong "conflict of interest" between Mr Sweeney's membership of the DUP and a DUP Minister's decision to "be of a mind" to approve Mr Sweeney's application for a Visitor Centre at the Giant's Causeway. Questions were raised during an edition of Spotlight (NI) on 23rd September 2007 as to whether or not Mr Paisley had acted improperly when lobbying for Mr Sweeney regarding the Giant's Causeway visitor centre. It has also emerged that Mr Paisley bought one of a series of houses built in Bushmills by Mr Sweeney (at full market value) after a local councillor and the previous landowner had been told that planning permission would not be granted for a development of more than two houses on that site.

He made a public blunder in an interview in which, after having been asked of his relationship with Sweeney, he said "I know of him." This prompted several prominent media figures to parody the moment. Nuala McKeever, the actress known for her roles in local comedies such as "Give My Head Peace" and her one woman show "Out Of the Box", joked in her Ireland-based touring sketch-show, "It's Not all Rain and Potatoes", "Ian Paisley Jr. is developing a new throat-lozenge. It's called Fisherman's acquaintance. It has no sugar but it has a few sweeteners." This is a reference to the confectionery item, Fisherman's Friend.

The Sweeney controversy took yet another twist in January 2008 when Jim Allister MEP made public a letter from David Hanson to Mr Paisley listing 6 requests by Mr Paisley relating to constituency matters which Mr Allister alleged formed part of the negotiations for the St Andrews Agreement a number of which related to Mr Sweeney, continued funding for the North West 200 being also among the requests. Mr Paisley apologised for any embarrassment he had caused the party but maintained he had done nothing wrong.

There was further controversy in February 2008 following scrutiny on the employment of family members by politicians after the Derek Conway scandal when it emerged that Mr Paisley was on his father's payroll as a researcher in the constituency of North Antrim in addition to his roles as an MLA and a Junior Minister

Paisley resigned his Junior Minister position on 18 February 2008

Further controversy occurred in August 2008 when Paisley, speaking after a number of attacks on the PSNI said that dissident republicans should be "shot on sight."

See also

References

External links

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