Ian Paisley tributes from Higgins, Kenny and Flanagan

michael d higgins
Tributes have been flooding in following the news of the passing of Ian Paisley, with Irish President Michael D. Higgins leading the eulogies.
“I have heard with sadness of the passing of Dr Ian Paisley and on behalf of Sabina and myself, I would like to express to his wife Eileen and to his family our deepest sympathy.
“Dr Ian Paisley was a man of deep convictions. Irrespective of one’s political perspective, Dr Paisley was undoubtedly a man of immense influence on the contemporary history of this island.
“His early career was characterised by an uncompromising position of a constitutional kind. However, his embracing of the change necessary to achieve a discourse that might lead to peace was of immense significance, as was his commitment to building relationships in support of that peace.
“Having sent a representative to my Inauguration, Sabina and I were happy to welcome him and Eileen to Áras an Uachtaráin, where he showed great interest in the history of the institution and the building. I also had the opportunity to speak with Dr Paisley at his last public engagement in City Hall, Belfast in November of last year.
I convey my sincere sympathies to Baroness Paisley and to his sons and daughters Ian, Kyle, Rhonda, Sharon and Cherith on their loss, as well as to Dr Paisley’s friends and colleagues within politics and the faith communities.
“May he rest in peace”
enda kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said:
“I wish to express my sympathy to Baroness Paisley and her family on the passing of Dr Ian Paisley.

“Dr Paisley was by any measure a major figure in the history of these islands.

“I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to him in recent years, and I know that he treasured the peace and friendship that he had lived to see, and helped to build, between our traditions.

“His devotion to his Faith and to the Unionist people of Northern Ireland was deep and unshakeable.

“In time, history will come to a fuller judgement of his long career.

“And, while he was of course a divisive figure, his greatest legacy will be one of peace.

“On this day, our thoughts are with his family and our sympathies go to the many thousands of people who were devoted to him during his life.”

charlie flanagan
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan said:
“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Dr. Ian Paisley.
“He was a man of strong principles and a deep religious conviction who was the voice of many people from his tradition.   He was admired by many for his resolute spirit and his strength of purpose.  These qualities were very much to the fore when he did what was once unimaginable and, together with Martin McGuinness,  brought nationalist and unionist parties together in partnership government in the Northern Ireland Executive.
“I recall especially that historic occasion when Dr. Paisley and his wife Eileen took part in the opening of the Battle of the Boyne heritage site.   That day represented what many had worked so long to achieve, cooperation between North and South with recognition of our shared history and heritage.  On that occasion, Dr Paisley spoke of his love for ‘this island we jointly hold together’.  He spoke of how he wanted ‘the best for the people of every part of this island’.
“I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Baronness Paisley, their children and wider family on their loss.  I also extend my condolences to his friends and former colleagues in the Democratic Unionist Party.”
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