Ian Paisley: MP son says father's critics 'pygmies in his shadow'

Ian Paisley Sr and Jr pictured in 2010 Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Ian Paisley Jr replaced his father as North Antrim MP in 2010

Ian Paisley Jr has described critics of his father, the former DUP leader and first minister who died last Friday aged 88, as "pygmies in his shadow".

He said his father and the Paisley family had been hurt by the way some in the Free Presbyterian Church and in political life "took him for granted".

He quoted Edward Carson talking about a friend who used him as a ladder only to kick him away at a convenient moment.

The North Antrim MP was writing in the Ballymena Guardian.

Ian Paisley Jr's article is primarily a personal recollection of his relationship with his father and an account of how he was called to the family home on Friday.

He said happier memories overshadowed the darker moments.

A private funeral service was held on Monday at the former first minister's east Belfast family home.

As a mark of respect, assembly business was suspended as MLAs remembered the former first minister and DUP leader.

Mr Paisley moved from a political "never man" to become Northern Ireland's first minister in 2007.

He ended up leading a power-sharing executive at Stormont - although he had supported the strike to bring one down 30 years earlier.

A year after becoming first minister of Northern Ireland with Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness as the deputy first minister, he stepped down and handed over the reins to Peter Robinson, who also succeeded him as leader of the DUP.

Mr Paisley would subsequently claim that he was forced out by the party, blaming Mr Robinson and DUP MP Nigel Dodds for ousting him. Both men denied this.

Mr Paisley was a founder of the Free Presbyterian Church in 1951. He resigned as moderator in 2008.

In 2011, he told the congregation at Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church in south Belfast that he was stepping down from ministry.

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