Kyle Paisley not in favour of ‘recriminalisation’ of homosexuality

‘Trying to turn the clock back is not realistic’ son of late Ian Paisley says

Ian Paisley's son Kyle says his father 'still had a lot to give' to the DUP and politics in Northern Ireland when he stood down as leader and First Minister in May 2008. Video: Irish TV

 

The son of the late former First Minister Ian Paisley has said he is not in favour of recriminalisation of homosexuality in a new interview for Irish TV.

In an wide-ranging interview with veteran journalist Eamonn Mallie, due to be broadcast on Irish TV at 11pm, Kyle Paisley, a minister at Oulton Broad Free Presbyterian Church in Lowestoft, England, whose father led the Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign in the 1970s against decriminalisation of homosexuality in the North, says recriminalisation would be “ridiculously unworkable”.

On Eamonn Mallie Meets, the 48-year-old twin brother of Ian Paisley Jr, a DUP MP for North Antrim, discusses a range of topics.

He confirms his family felt “betrayed” by the DUP and criticises “sectarianism” in the Free Presbyterian Church at the time of his father’s departure as moderator.

He also described discussion from within the DUP over recriminalisation of homosexuality as “not reasonable”.

“Trying to turn the clock back is not realistic and because it’s not realistic it’s not being reasonable,” he says. “And it’s not as if it’s the only sin in the book either.”

Kyle Paisley has been highly critical of the DUP in recent times, previously speaking publicly of his father being forced to quit as party leader and First Minister.

Prior to his death on September 12th , 2014, aged 88 Ian Paisley claimed he was told to quit but DUP party leader Peter Robinson and deputy leader Nigel Dodds both denied his account of events.

Kyle Paisley does not name specific DUP members in the new interview but says the behaviour of one-time friends in the party was difficult to take and told Mallie of how events impacted the Paisley family.

“The bible says a friend loves at all times a brother is born for adversity.

“You don’t expect those who were you brother so to speak to be the creators of your adversity. “It was hurtful. Because he had put his heart and soul into it and he still had a lot to give.”

Kyle Paisley also speaks of the hurt and unpleasant feelings he experienced when his father was said to be left humiliated by the church the founded.

“I don’t think it was good for the church and I don’t think it was good for the atmosphere in Northern Ireland either,” he said.

On “sectarianism” being at the heart of opposition to his father sharing power with Sinn Féin he told the programme that after 30 years of conflict in the North it is difficult for some, in every denomination, “to make peace with their enemies”.

“You’ve got to,” he said.

“That’s the spirit of the gospel. If you believe the gospel, if you believe in the spirit of the gospel you’ve got to carry the spirit of the gospel into your politics as well.”

He added: “If you don’t want to see your moderator, your leader who has been faithful as his calling as a Christian minister.

“If you don’t want to see him share power with his opposite in religious and political what other word can you use.

“There seems to me as a kind of outsider there really is unwarranted bias there.”

Ahead of the broadcast Eamonn Mallie told The Irish Times it was evident to him that Kyle Paisley - a father-of-three daughters who described himself as “an Irish man in England” - is “a man of conviction”.

“The question of concelebrating a marriage in the eventuality of one of his children marrying a Catholic poses problems for him in terms of concelebrating a church service with a Catholic priest but he is very big and ready to state he has no right to choose...for any one of his children.”

Mallie says he tackles all the big issues in their interview and what was fascinating to him is how Kyle Paisley views the world through “a UK lens, living in Britain”.

“He has a greater capacity for seeing the world through that lens as opposed to what is happening here, where the world is viewed through the lens of Northern Ireland,” he said.

“He has moved, intellectually in his head, because of the reality that he lives under a different regime, where same-sex marriage and all this type of thing is the norm.

“That is what is refreshing about his way of looking at the world.”

Next Sunday, November 8th Eamonn Mallie Meets on Irish TV (Sky channel 191) will feature Bishop Eamon Martin.