People wish former First Minister a quick recovery

Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley

A number of north Antrim residents have wished Ian Paisley a quick recovery as he battles a serious heart illness.

During a number of street interviews conducted by the Times last week - while the ex-DUP leader lay in intensive care in the Ulster Hospital - several folk sent him their best wishes.

Mr Paisley, 85, served North Antrim for around 40 years as an MP and left a favourable impression with many of his constituents when asked about his impact.

Tony McNeill, a fork truck driver from Ballymoney, praised Mr Paisley for his work in the area.

He said: “He’s a fair age of a man and he’s done a lot for North Antrim in both communities.

“Just like everyone else, age has caught up with him.

“Dr Paisley has done a lot for loads of people in North Antrim.

“Mr Paisley has been here a long time.

“He actually got me a house in Meeting House Street after we went to his surgery.”

Mr McNeill added: “I wish him a speedy recovery.

“The age has caught up with him. A man in his 60s would cope better.”

Hazel McDonald, from Cloughmills, said Mr Paisley had tried to improve the lives of local people.

She said: “I would wish him well. I think he worked for everybody. He had a good interest in local people.

“I think he worked for everybody and did what he could.

“I hope he gets well soon.”

Although Mr Paisley’s health scare had made national headline news, it had not caught the attention of Elizabeth Scott, from Ballymoney.

She said: “I did not even know he was in hospital.”

Before adding: “He had a good interest in local people. I definitely would wish him a speedy recovery.”

Carer Julie Wright, from Ballymoney, also wants to see Mr Paisley quickly leave hospital.

She said: “I wish him a speedy recovery and hope he gets well soon.”

But when asked about Mr Paisley’s political career, she said: “He was a good MP at a time but he let a lot of people down.

“Things that he said and done - promising and doing different things.”

Pensioner Robert Holmes, from Ballymoney, had voted for Mr Paisley and was praiseworthy of his record.

He said: “I think he did a good job, I think he had a good, genuine interest in ordinary people.

“I think he did pretty well. I would wish him a recovery.

“I did vote for him. In his early days he performed well.”

Edith Owens, from Ballymoney, also reflected positively on Mr Paisley’s career.

She said: “He did his job well, I’m sure.

“He was a good man at his job.”

But while most spoke highly of the former First Minister, some people were critical of his latter stance on power-sharing with republicans.

One mature woman, who did not want to be named, said: “I’m very much a unionist and I’ve have no time for him.

“I just think he was there and caused a lot of trouble.

“At the time of Mr Trimble and Faulkner he could have worked with them, but now look at the boys he’s siding with.

“Personally I do not care (for him).”