Paisley furore: Sri Lankans ‘angry and frustrated’ over £50,000 holiday freebies

DUP MP Ian Paisley and his family received two free holidays from the Sri Lankan government
DUP MP Ian Paisley and his family received two free holidays from the Sri Lankan government

Ian Paisley’s acceptance of two lavish family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government has caused “anger and frustration” among some of the country’s poorest inhabitants, a Northern Ireland charity worker has claimed.

The North Antrim MP admitted that he received over £50,000 worth of hospitality on the two junkets.

And Darren Ferguson, CEO of NI-based peace building group Beyond Skin, said that money could have “changed hundreds of Sri Lankan lives” .

The charity, founded by Mr Ferguson in 2004, works closely with underprivileged children in Sri Lanka.

He told the News Letter yesterday: “Ian Paisley used his power and influence as an MP to indirectly take food out of the hands of children living on the poverty line.

“Our partners over there do not get sponsored by the Sri Lankan government, and they are doing amazing work for young people in need.

“That £50,000 would have fed and gave access to education for hundreds of children who are struggling, and that is really grating on people in Sri Lanka.

“Sri Lanka has almost been forgotten about, times are very hard there. The country never had a peace agreement and it is dealing with a lot of post-conflict issues with very little investment.

“Yet here is a western politician who used his political influence to get two free family holidays, using money that should be going towards the struggling community.”