Paisley ‘heartbroken’ over exit from church
Wife says she believes incident caused his ill-health
Eamonn Mallie with Ian Paisley and his wife Eileen Paisley. Dr Paisley (now Lord Bannside) disclosed how neither he nor his family attend the Free Presbyterian Church anymore.
The Rev Ian Paisley has spoken of his deep hurt at how he felt forced out as moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church which he founded in Northern Ireland and how he also had to quit as minister of his Martyrs Memorial Church in Belfast.
His wife, Eileen, now Baroness Paisley, also said that his effective expulsion as minister of the Martyrs Memorial Church on Belfast’s Ravenhill Road triggered the heart illness that almost cost him his life in February 2012.
He was on a life support machine for a number of days but Dr Paisley, now 87, recovered.
“I know he was heartbroken,” the baroness told the BBC programme, Paisley: Genesis To Revelation – Face To Face With Eamonn Mallie, which is being broadcast tonight.
“I believe, and I am going to say this, I believe it was the heartbreak that made him ill, took a toll on his health.”
The programme details how some senior members of the Free Presbyterian Church opposed to his decision to share power with Sinn Féin compelled him to stand down in January 2008 as moderator of the church which he founded on St Patrick’s Day, 1951.
It also reports how in November 2011 he felt forced to announce his retirement as minister of the Martyrs Memorial Church after more than 60 years of ministry there.
“Our hearts were all broken for Ian. I felt he had been deeply wounded in the house of his friends. I just felt it was really iniquitous, a really dreadful, hurtful, nasty, ungodly, un-Christian thing to do,” she said.
Dr Paisley (now Lord Bannside) disclosed how neither he nor his family attend the Free Presbyterian Church anymore.
“You don’t go to a church to sit on nails, you go to a church to sit in a place where there is rest and peace,” he said.
In the programme Eamonn Mallie quotes Dr Paisley’s son, the Rev Kyle Paisley, as stating about some of the people who ousted him: “Some of what was said was pure sectarianism and some Protestants only wanted a military defeat of republicans . . .”
Endorsing this account, Dr Paisley said: “There are people and all they wanted was the defeat of the IRA and that was it. And Protestants who were killing and bombing as well and they are forgotten about.”