When Ian and Martin prayed
Ian Paisley has spoken for the first time about praying in private with Martin McGuinness while they served together as joint heads of the Northern Ireland Executive. Dr Paisley made his comments in a public interview with me earlier this week at Queen's University. The interview is now available online. He said:
'[Martin McGuinness] took some risks. For a Sinn Fein leader to call other Republicans traitors when there was the shooting of the two Army men, I mean that was a very tough thing to say... We got on well together because we had a good foundation, and as long as we kept to that foundation all was well... There were some individual matters that he had, home matters of people being ill and his mother being ill, and we prayed together. Well, I did the praying and he did the listening, but he wanted me to do it... I offered prayer for him, and I think that was the right thing to do, and I don't care what people say. I hope that I have the same heart that Christ had, a love for others who needed help at times of need.'
I asked Ian Paisley about the irony of journalists writing stories, at the time, noting that he had failed to shake Martin McGuinness's hand in public, while they were praying together in private. Dr Paisley said he has never been impressed by staged handshakes in public.
You can listen to the whole interview on the Culture Northern Ireland website.