Northern Ireland

Ian Paisley: Memorial service to be held for DUP founder

Ian Paisley pictured after delivering his final sermon in 2011 Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Ian Paisley, one of the best-known and longest-serving figures in British politics, died a fortnight ago after a long illness

A memorial service for former Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley will be held in Belfast next month.

Mr Paisley, founder of the Democratic Unionist Party, died on 12 September.

His funeral was strictly private, limited to immediate family members. However, the Paisleys let it be known they planned a bigger memorial service.

They have now confirmed it will take place at the Ulster Hall on Sunday 19 October. The ceremony will be broadcast live by BBC Northern Ireland.

Due to the number of people wishing to attend, the service will be by invitation only.

In a brief statement, Baroness Eileen Paisley thanked the press for respecting the family's desire for privacy during what she described as the "very sacred days" after her husband's death.

Mr Paisley was one of the best-known and longest-serving figures in British politics.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Baroness Eileen Paisley has thanked the press for respecting her family's desire for privacy in the days after her husband's death

He was a preacher who founded his own church and later his own political party.

The hardline unionist leader was famous for his opposition to Irish republicanism and any involvement of the Republic of Ireland in Northern Ireland's affairs.

Mr Paisley was both loved and loathed for his outspoken views on politics and religion.

In 2007, after decades of opposing power-sharing agreements, he entered government with his former enemies, Sinn Féin.

Mr Paisley stepped down from politics the following year and delivered his last church sermon in 2011.

He died a fortnight ago at the age of 88 after a long illness.

He was buried in County Down, following the private funeral service at his family home in east Belfast.

Ian Paisley's memorial service will be broadcast live on BBC Northern Ireland on Sunday 19 October from 15:00 BST.

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