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Saturday 16 December 2017

Big Ian remains powerful with DUP grassroots

Sam Smyth

THE more Ian Paisley tried to be inconspicuous, the more striking he appeared among his charisma-challenged DUP colleagues in the Assembly yesterday.

Big Ian can suck the air out of any room even when he is silent -- and his appearance in Stormont was an acknowledgement that something momentous was going down.

Mr Paisley has little affection for Peter Robinson, particularly after his successor's ominous silence when Ian Paisley Jnr was asked awkward questions about his relationships with developers 18-months ago. Even though Mr Robinson was his consummate political strategist in the DUP for 31 years, the east Belfastman was never of his church.

He had attended the meeting at Stormont earlier where they supported Mr Robinson's leadership.

And while he does not have the same appeal to Mr Robinson's pin-stripe followers, Big Ian remains a formidable force with the DUP's grassroots.

Irish Independent

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