The Question is: Opinions on Ian Paisley

The Question is: Opinions on Ian Paisley

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Belfast, Havelock House




Transmission 17/12/1988


24min 58sec




1 inch



Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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Presented by Barry Cowan, this is a series attempting to answer some of Northern Ireland's - and life's - burning questions, with this episode wondering who Ian Paisley, the man, really is.

Described as "the countries most controversial Unionist politician" he has attracted the attention of many writers and commentators who try and capture in their books 'Paisleyism'. On the panel, to help get a rounded view is Ronda Paisley, daughter of Ian Paisley and who has recently written a book called 'My Father', also on is Clifford Smyth, once a close associate of Mr Paisley but "was thrown out of the DUP" and lastly Rev. Roy Magee, Dundonald Presbyterian Minister. 

Clifford makes reference to Paisley's "blessed assurance" and how he has an instinctive grasp on what ordinary Loyalists feel and how they react, this is due to his total absorption of Ulster history. However, this religious assurance is what can make him contentious to others as he forgets that some do not believe in what he does. Furthermore, unlike Protestant parties in "continental Europe" who move from a theoretical basis, DUP tends to be reactionary, which meant that they entered into the Troubles without any analysis of where it might be heading.

Ronda, though believes that his faith comes before his unionism and that needs to be differentiated "even from his Protestantism". Minister Roy points out that there are differences of opinion even in the Free Presbyterian Church and that he has 'strong sympathies' with Paisley due to his position in his confession on faith, he has a biblical concept for everything he does.


A UTV Production.

Director: Mervyn Waugh

Editor: Jamie Delargy 




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