Thursday 19 October 2017

Ian Paisley 'in good spirits' as he is admitted to hospital for tests

Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley

Michael McHugh

Former DUP leader Ian Paisley has been admitted to hospital for tests.

The party stalwart was treated for a heart condition last year and has been taken into the Ulster Hospital, near Belfast.

"He is in for tests but he is in good spirits and his family has asked for privacy," a spokeswoman for the hospital said.

In February 2012, the 87-year-old spent a week on a life-support machine suffering from heart failure. He later returned to public life after recovering.

The previous year, he had a pacemaker fitted at St Thomas' hospital in London after falling ill at Westminster.

Mr Paisley stood down as Northern Ireland's first minister in 2008 and ended 60 years of full-time ministry in January 2012.

The veteran unionist and fundamentalist Protestant preacher has been a colossus of Northern Ireland politics.

He was an MP for North Antrim and a divisive figure at a time when an armed conflict that killed thousands was at its worst. Mr Paisley established the DUP in 1971 and opposed every attempt by successive British and Irish governments to create a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.

But in a dramatic change of heart after the St Andrews agreement in 2006, he indicated that the DUP would share power with its former enemies in Sinn Fein.

Irish Independent

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