Paisley huddled in car on burger stop near banks of Boyne
Ian Paisley was left cowering in a car as he waited for a burger and Diet Coke outside a takeaway near the banks of the Boyne, State papers have claimed.
The scene played out as the DUP leader was nervous about being spotted by locals in Slane, Co Meath, as he journeyed to Dublin for the trial of his party colleague Peter Robinson.
Inside the burger joint was Paisley's close associate, barrister Desmond Boal - who felt it necessary to deny it was the firebrand preacher and staunch unionist leader.
"Nervous that he might be recognised, Paisley huddled inside the car in the car park while Boal went in to order hamburgers and Diet Coke for the DUP leader," an Irish government official reported.
"In the meantime, two local youths spotted Mr Paisley in the car. Hotly denying (to their obvious amazement) that the occupant of the car was Mr Paisley, Mr Boal was forced to grab the food and to flee."
According to the documents released under the 30-year rule, they made the lunchtime stop while on the old N2 road to Dublin, where Mr Robinson was on trial for the bizarre "invasion" in Clontibret, Co Monaghan, the previous year.
The story had been doing the rounds of legal circles in Belfast. One of those who picked up on it was solicitor PJ McGrory. He passed the anecdote on to an official in the Department of Foreign Affairs, who in turn reported it to the top ranks of the Irish government, including tánaiste Dick Spring and justice minister Alan Dukes.
Mr McGrory told the official there was a rumour Mr Paisley and Mr Boal had "deliberately tried to 'set up' Mr Robinson" by persuading him to enter guily plea.