Statement on the death of Ian Paisley by Belfast Bishop Harold Miller

From The Rt Revd Harold Miller, Bishop of Down & Dromore (13 Sept 2014):

Ian Paisley was often called ‘the big man’, and that was true in many ways for both those who agreed and those who disagreed with his views. He has been both a remarkably gifted and remarkably challenging leader over the last half–century – indeed he has been one of the most influential and well–known politicians in the history of Northern Ireland. It was wonderful to see his gifts used to deliver something of the new world of power–sharing in which we are living now. I was deeply encouraged to see that one of the earliest tributes to him was from Martin McGuinness – a sign of the deep transformation friendship can offer across political and cultural boundaries in our society.

He was a man steeped in the Bible, with a uniquely Ulster mix of blunt strictness and warm humour. He was also a family man, and someone, especially in his latter years, with whom it was a pleasure and privilege to meet and talk.

Many have also mentioned his love of St Patrick, and his desire to see St Patrick’s Day as a national holiday. That came from his realisation that the transforming gospel proclaimed by Patrick was the same faith in the same Christ which was at the heart of his belief.

A big man leaves a big gap and my thoughts and prayers are with Eileen and the family.

+Harold, Down & Dromore

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