On This Day

Ian Paisley

First Minister of Northern Ireland Ian Paisley

Full Name: Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, Baron Bannside
Profession: First Minister of Northern Ireland

United Kingdom

Biography: Perhaps the most famous and controversial loyalist politician during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Paisley was known for his fire-brand Protestantism, protesting against Roman Catholicism, ecumenism and homosexuality. In the 1950s he became one of the leaders of resistance to the Catholic civil rights movement in the 1960s, which contributed to the outbreak of the Troubles in the same decade.

Paisley formed the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) opposed all peace attempts that involved power-sharing with Northern Irish republicans, and he helped bring down the 1974 Sunningdale Agreement. He helped create a loyalist paramilitary force, the Third Force, and opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 as well as the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 which ended the conflict.

In 2007 Paisley reversed decades of hardline stance and agreed to a compromise with republicans (and arch-enemies) Sinn Fein. Paisley and Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness served as First Minister and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, respectively, until Paisley retired in 2008.

Born: April 6, 1926
Birthplace: Armagh, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Tiger
Star Sign: Aries

Died: September 12, 2014 (aged 88)

Historical Events

  • 1966-04-01 Loyalist led by Ian Paisley, a Protestant fundamentalist preacher, founded the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee to challenge the civil rights movement; it set up a paramilitary-style wing called the Ulster Protestant Volunteers
  • 1968-10-09 2,000 students from Queen's University Belfast try to march to Belfast City Hall in protest against 'police brutality', but blocked by loyalists led by Ian Paisley; leads for formation of student civil rights group People's Democracy
  • 1968-11-09 Ian Paisley and Ronald Bunting lead a Loyalist march to the Diamond area of Derry, North Ireland
  • 1968-11-30 A Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march in Armagh is stopped by Royal Ulster Constabulary because of the presence of a Loyalist counter demonstration led by Ian Paisley and Ronald Bunting
  • 1969-01-27 Ian Paisley sentenced to 3 years
  • 1969-03-25 Ian Paisley and Ronald Bunting, loyalists in Northern Ireland are jailed for organising an illegal counter demonstration in Armagh on 30 November 1968
  • 1969-05-06 Northern Ireland Prime Minister James Chichester-Clark announces an amnesty for all offences associated with demonstrations since 5 October 1968, resulting in the release of, among others, Ian Paisley and Ronald Bunting
  • 1969-05-09 Following his release from prison Ian Paisley, North Ireland Loyalist holds a 'victory' meeting
  • 1969-07-13 North Ireland loyalist Ian Paisley addresses a crowd at Loughgall, County Antrim, and is reported to have said: "I am anti-Roman Catholic, but God being my judge, I love the poor dupes who are ground down under that system."
  • 1970-04-16 Protestant Unionist Ian Paisley wins seat formerly held by Terence O'Neill in the Stormont (North Ireland Parliament)
  • 1971-09-06 William Craig and Ian Paisley speak at a rally in Belfast before a crowd of approximately 20,000 people and call for the establishment of a 'third force' to defend 'Ulster'
  • 1971-09-30 Ian Paisley and Desmond Boal launch the [Ulster] Democratic Unionist Party
  • 1988-10-12 Pope John Paul II is the target of anti-papal heckling by Protestant leader Ian Paisley at a European Parliament meeting in Strasbourgh, France
  • 2007-05-08 A new Northern Ireland Executive is formed with Ian Paisley (Democratic Unionist Party) as First Minister and Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) as Deputy First Minister

Famous British People