The Paisley Dynasty and the murky deals that sealed the St Andrews NI agreement - orchestrated by Tony Blair
Tom Griffin points to the Irish Times story yesterday that DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley will retire as a Westminster MP at the next general but will remain as First Minister at Stormont until his term expires in 2011, after he enters his 86th year.
His preferred replacement, predicts Tom, is surely his son, fellow North Antrim MLA and junior Stormont minister, Ian Paisley Jr. He is however under close public scrutiny due to his cosy relationship with DUP member, property developer Seymour Sweeney. The Paisley's pere et fils have a long term friendship with fisherman Sweeney (see BBC Online).
The contents of a letter to the MLA from direct rule Minster , Welsh Nu-Labour MP David Hanson dated October 13, 2006 - the final day of the St Andrews talks, has been published under a Freedom of Information request by ex-DUP MEP Jim Allister - who had quit the DUP over the power-sharing deal with Sinn Fein. (Remember the NI office agreement states ..."Our discussions have been focused on achieving full and effective operation of the political institutions. " see official NI offfice agreeement. no mention of Hanson's letter)
In the letter, Mr Hanson listed six issues raised by Mr Paisley Jnr that had been "considered" by the Prime Minister - then Roman catholic Zionist carpetbagger Tony Blair.
These included publicly-owned land at Ballee, Ballymena which Mr Sweeney and other businessmen were seeking to buy and development of land at Giant's Causeway that Mr Sweeney owned / had interests in .
The full list of issues raised with Tony Blair ,"on the margins of the St Andrews talks " as listed by the NIO, give a fascinating insight into grubby money making schemes that were exercising the champions of democracy , they included :
* £1m in funding over seven years for the North West 200 motorcycling event.
* Planning approval for a "resort spa" including "200 homes" .
* Future use of St Patrick's Barracks in Ballymena "to be discussed with MP".
*Giant's Causeway - "private sector land to be included in development".
* Upgrade of the A26 Ballymena to Ballycastle road.
* Ballee lands - "judicial review to be dropped".
Fascinating - don't remember these matters receiving much of an airing at the time.
North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay is quoted on the Sinn fein website ( last refuge it appears of the politically inoccent in NI) "Most people will find it extraordinary that Seymour Sweeney's application for a Visitors Centre at the Giants Causeway, as well as a land deal in Ballymena which he is involved with, formed part of key DUP negotiations at St Andrews to restore the Assembly. "
He also adds mysteriously ..."The DUP has a duty to the public to now clarify whether or not the Environment Minister Arlene Foster (and UUP turncoat) and the Enterprise Minister Nigel Dodds (OBE) were present at St Andrews when Ian Paisley Junior was lobbying for private sector land to be included in the development at the Giant's Causeway."
The real politik of the decades of squalid deals and stitch ups of NI will come as a surprise to no-one ... nor that Tony Blair was up to his neck in it ... and Bertie of course... not without his own money problems Times 6/1/08 "Bertie Ahern admits disorder in tax affairs"..."His current woes are linked to a long-running public investigation, the Mahon tribunal, into land planning deals linked to political favours. " in which developer, Owen O'Callaghan figures, claiming he slipped Bertie the long brown envelopes and which Bertie denies....
Paisley's Church seeks new Moderator after 56 years
Ian Paisley founded the Free Presbyterian Church in 1951 and indicated last September that he would stand down in January following mounting concern over his dual role as Moderator and Stormont First Minister. Church members anxiety may have been due to the workload facing Mr Paisley, but it may also have reflected concern at his decision to share power with Sinn Fein.
Clergy and elders of the Free Presbyterian Church will meet tonight to choose the man to succeed Ian Paisley as his 56-year term as Moderator comes to an end.
All this makes the news that the Global head of the British Council is Neil Kinnock and his son runs the Russian branch another fascinating reflection on political dynasts.