THE founder and former Moderator of the Free Presbyterian
Church, Lord Bannside, the retired First Minister the Revd Ian
Paisley, said on Monday that he had been forced out of the Martyrs'
Memorial church he had founded on Raven Hill Road, Belfast, and had
had to stop preaching there.
In the second of two BBC TV interviews, he said that he had been
deeply hurt by the actions of some elders in the church, believed
to be due to his decision as First Minister in the Northern Ireland
Assembly to share power with Sinn Fein. He left the church in 2008
after more than 60 years of ministry.
Lord Bannside suffered serious cardiac illness afterwards,
attributed by his wife, Baroness Paisley, to the trauma surrounding
his departure from the church. "I believe, and I am going to say
this, I believe it was the heartbreak that made him ill, took a
toll on his health," she said.
"Our hearts were all broken for Ian. I felt he had been deeply
wounded in the house of his friends. I just felt it was really
iniquitous, a really dreadful, hurtful, nasty, ungodly, unchristian
thing to do."
Lord Bannside told the reporter Eamonn Mallie that the family
did not go to the church any more. "You don't go to a church to sit
on nails, you go to a church to sit in a place where there is rest
and peace," he said.
Lord Bannside also alleged that two DUP colleagues, Peter
Robinson (now First Minister) and Nigel Dodds, among others,
conspired to force him out of his leadership and that of the DUP.
He acquiesced in order not to cause a rift in the party, he
His former long-time association with Mr Robinson is now at an
end. "His ways are not my ways. He has to answer for how he
On Tuesday, the DUP leadership issueda strong rebuttal of Lord
Bannside's comments, and said that the Party was "saddened" to see
Lord Bannside "harm his legacy", and suggested that he was no
longer able to cope with the job.
"In his later years as party leader many colleagues shielded his
frailty from public view to avoid embarrassment and protect his
legacy," a spokesman for the DUP said after the airing of the
programme. "Those people are hurt by untrue and bitter comments
contained in the documentary."
Lord Bannside, who is 87, is not expected to give any further