Northern Ireland news

Government questioned whether Paisley would be `significant'

The political ambitions of Rev Ian Paisley is highlighted in this year's Belfast releases

The political ambitions of the DUP leader, Rev Ian Paisley land whether he was capable of making the compromises necessary with nationalism to become the key political figure in Northern Ireland is highlighted in this year's Belfast releases.

At a meeting in London on October 12 1984, the US Ambassador to the UK, Charles Price asked the NI Secretary, Douglas Hurd for his assessment of the DUP leader.

Hurd said he found Paisley courteous in his Stormont role as chairman of the agriculture committee of the assembly but he "quite understood that Dr Paisley was liable to be more excitable ... in circumstances of constitutional controversy".

Assessing the DUP leader, the Secretary of State said he "found it difficult to know whether Dr Paisley was content to be a significant figure within the current arrangements (the NI Assembly) or whether he would be prepared to make the considerable concessions which would be needed in any form of devolved government in which Dr Paisley could take responsibility for government."

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