Northern Ireland news

Ian Paisley has made headlines before - for all the wrong reasons

 Arlene Foster and Ian Paisley. Picture by Mal McCann

IAN Paisley jnr has previously found himself making headlines for the wrong reasons. Here are just some of the controversies over the last decade


He caused a storm over comments that he was "repulsed" by gay people.


In June, he was fined £5,000 for contempt of court after he refused to identify his sources to the Billy Wright inquiry. The LVF leader was shot dead by the INLA inside the Maze on December 27 1997.


 Mr Paisley with his late father Ian (right) and property developer Seymour Sweeney

He resigned as junior minister and admitted he made "mistakes" in the controversy over his lobbying for constituency issues.

While a Stormont ombudsman's investigation ruled that there was no evidence to suggest Mr Paisley had broken assembly rules, he said a series of stories about his lobbying on behalf of property developer Seymour Sweeney had taken their toll.

It had emerged that Mr Sweeney, whose proposals for a visitor centre at the Giant's Causeway were backed by Mr Paisley - including lobbying during negotiations on the St Andrews Agreement - was a member of the DUP.

Mr Sweeney also sold Mr Paisley and his parents-in-law holiday homes on the north Antrim coast - one of a series of houses built in Bushmills by the developer after a councillor and the previous landowner had been told that planning permission would not be granted for a development of more than two houses on that site.

Mr Paisley polled 20,000 more than his nearest rival at the last general election. Picture by Matt Bohill, Pacemaker Press

In February, it emerged that Mr Paisley was on his father's payroll as a researcher in the constituency of North Antrim in addition to his roles as an assembly member and junior minister.

He resigned his ministerial position that month.


Since being elected to Westminster in 2010, he has been under scrutiny for high expenses. He topped the list of MPs in 2013 when he ran up a staffing, travel and accommodation bill of £232,000. He said these were "legitimate expenses signed off by IPSA and paid directly by the Parliament".

Boris Johnson and Ian Paisley during a visit to Wrightbus several years ago, when the then London mayor announced a £62m order for 195 Routemaster buses for London Transport


In January, he apologises for using a a racist slur on live radio. The prominent DUP figure used the word "chinky" during an interview on BBC Radio Ulster regarding Liam Neeson receiving the freedom of Ballymena.


In March, he is fined for driving without insurance.

In November, he said he had a working relationship with newly-elected US president Donald Trump and that his "bark is worse than the bite".


In April, Mr Paisley causes controversy after he says police officers who shot dead IRA man Colum Marks in Downpatrick in 1991 should be "given medals" rather than face further investigation.

 Arlene Foster and Ian Paisley. Picture by Mal McCann


 Mr Paisley doing a 'wheelie' outside Belfast City Hall

In April, he said he is willing to meet members of the Muslim community following criticism over sharing an anti-Islam message by right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins.

In same month, the local government auditor announced a review into a dinner hosted by Mr Paisley. It will focus on £1,500 paid by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for a table at the event attended by Michael Gove.

In June, he claimed he had received a letter from Catholic priest who was 'urging his parishioners to vote DUP' over the party's anti-abortion stance. An extract Mr Paisley shared with the media made no mention of the priest’s congregation and how he would ask them to vote.

In the same month, the two men behind the controversial Leave.EU campaign walked out of a Westminster committee to have lunch with Mr Paisley and party colleague Sammy Wilson. Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore, were later pictured on a roof terrace of a House of Commons bar with the DUP MPs.


Read more:

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news