Monday, May 07, 2007


'We come of the same stock' - Paisley

"I think Ulstermen and people from the rest of Ireland can get on together, because we come of the same stock to a great degree and there is a similarity between the characters of people in all of this island."

If I were to ask you all to tell me which politician from the North had uttered the above sentence, you might answer back Gerry Adams, or maybe Mark Durkan, but I doubt many of you would expect a sentence like that to have been uttered by the Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of the largest unionist party in NI. Yet it was indeed Paisley who uttered that very line when speaking to RTE correspondent Tommy Gorman yesterday evening. You can see it here. (Real Player req'd)

I couldn't believe my eyes and my ears as I observed Ian Paisley, the man who at one time threw snowballs at Taoiseach Sean Lemass on a trip to the North, the man who helped organise riots over the flying of an Irish tricolour, sitting down calmly discussing the similarities of people across Ireland.

It reflects a new-found spirit of openness on the part of Paisley who tomorrow is set to be sworn in as the North's First Minister at Stormont and who, later this week, will meet with current Taoiseach Bertie Ahern as the pair visit the Battle of the Boyne, the site of King William of Orange's famous victory in 1690 over the forces of King James.

It's a quite extraordinary time for the people of this island and it really hammers home how far we've come from the dark days of the past. The Provos and the UVF are no longer in the equation, devolved government is set to return to the North, Paisley and the Taoiseach are taking a trip to an important unionist spot. It's cause for optimism and if we can get through summer without any trouble then there's a lot to be excited about for the future.

Paisley is right - we do come from the same stock and there is a similarity in our characters. That is why, when conditions are right, we will vote to reunify our land so we can all move forward as one into a golden future.


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