Monday 20 November 2017

Paisley is a sickening and hateful bigot. What's new?

His comments on bomb carnage in the Republic were nauseating but entirely consistent, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

First Minister Ian Paisley, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, pictured in 2008.
First Minister Ian Paisley, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, pictured in 2008.

Eilis O'Hanlon

IAN Paisley is, always was -- and, at the age of 87, surely always will be -- a hateful, rabble-rousing bigot, whose contribution to life in Northern Ireland was, for more than 50 dark years, overwhelmingly and shamefully negative. The furore now because the long-time Democratic Unionist Party leader says Dublin and Monaghan were asking for it as 33 innocent people were murdered in 1974, or words to that effect, is just more manufactured outrage from people who deliberately chose to forget what he was like.

It's hardly a revelation how these people think, after all. Shinners believe IRA members gunning down unarmed men were "doing their duty". Paisleyites think the South got what it deserved for its attitude towards Northern Ireland. To a man, they're all total and utter . . . well, I won't say the word. But listening to their litany of excuses and whataboutery would be enough to make any decent person's skin crawl.

The wonder is not that Paisley said what he said -- in reportedly his final ever interview, given to veteran journalist Eamon Mallie -- but that anyone can be bothered going through the charade of pretending to be surprised or horrified or outraged at his words. If they are, then they haven't been paying attention. Or maybe paying too much attention to the wrong voices who decided, in the last decade or so, to gloss over the reality of what Ian Paisley, now Lord Bannside, has always been about and to paint him instead as the new hero of pragmatism and bridge-building.

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