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 his character, motivations and ideology in their books on 'Paisleyism'.

On the panel, to help provide a rounded view of the man in question - Rhonda Paisley, daughter of Ian Paisley and who has recently written a book called 'My Father'. Clifford Smyth, once a close associate of Mr Paisley but who "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 share his beliefs. Furthermore, unlike Protestant parties in "continental Europe" who operate from a largely theoretical basis, the DUP tends to be reactionary, which meant that they engaged with the conflicts that arose during The Troubles without any analysis of where they, and events, might be heading.

Rhonda, however, states that her father's faith comes before his belief in unionism and that this 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 and the understanding that Paisley tends to have a biblical concept, or rationale underpinning his actions.


A UTV Production.

Director: Mervyn Waugh

Editor: Jamie Delargy 




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