The Mayor of Ballymoney has paid tribute to one of Ballymoney’s Honorary Freeman, Dr Ian Paisley, saying he ‘worked tirelessly to represent his constituents, not only in North Antrim, but also throughout Ulster’.
During tonight’s (Monday) Council meeting, Ald Bill Kennedy said he ‘sympathised with all who grieve his passing’.
He continued: “Numerous tributes have been paid to The Lord Bannside, Dr Paisley, who died last week. Many have recognized his contribution to Northern Ireland life in statements issued from many quarters.
“The former MP, MEP, MLA and Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church is deeply mourned by people throughout Northern Ireland, and further afield, but he had a special place in the hearts of those in his North Antrim constituency where he is very fondly remembered. As first citizen of this borough I sympathise with all who grieve his passing.
“Dr Paisley was first and foremost a Preacher, establishing the Free Presbyterian Church. With the deterioration of the political situation in Northern Ireland many people from various parts who were greatly concerned pleaded with him to enter the political arena and champion their cause. The rest, as they say, is history.
“After winning the seat for Bannside in the Stormont Parliament, a few months later he also won the North Antrim seat in the Westminster Parliament, a seat he held successfully and successively since 1970, with a political turn-over which is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. In 1979 he contested the first election for the European Parliament, topping the poll, which he has done on all five occasions.
“He served the community for 30 years as a Member of Parliament for the constituency of North Antrim and 21 years as member of the European Parliament for Northern Ireland. This Council recorded its appreciation of this unique electoral record, recognising the will of the citizens of the borough and further afield, by admitting him a Freeman of the Borough on 21st October 2000.
“Dr Paisley worked tirelessly to represent his constituents, not only in North Antrim, but also throughout Ulster, with fairness and diligence and without fear or favour, in every forum to which he was elected. He was the voice of the voiceless, serving their interest in all institutions. This service was marked with his unique sense of humour, spirit of generosity and deep felt concern for the people.
“In all his endeavours he has had the full support of his wife and family. To Eileen …Baroness Paisley, his children, Sharon, Rhonda, Cherith, Kyle and Ian, grandchildren and great grandchildren, I extend our heartfelt sympathy at this time.
“In order to give the people of Ballymoney Borough an opportunity to express their sympathy to Dr Paisley’s family I opened a book of condolence, which can be signed by Council Civic Headquarters and Town Hall. The book closes on 30 September. The Union Flag at Council Offices and Town Hall has been flying at half mast today, the day of the funeral of our Honorary Freeman.”
Full story in this week’s Times!