Northern Ireland

Ian Paisley's wife Eileen 'could not go out of way' to vote for DUP

Eileen Paisley
Image caption Baroness Paisley said her late husband felt "betrayed" over his exit from the party he founded

Eileen Paisley, the wife of Ian Paisley, has said she "could not go out of her way" to vote for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in an election.

She told BBC Talkback that she would only vote for the DUP if the candidate was "somebody very special" or if they were "giving the best option".

She also told the programme that her late husband felt "betrayed" over his exit from the party he founded.

Mr Paisley led the DUP until he stood down in 2008.

He and his wife had previously criticised the party and church in a BBC documentary in 2014. He died later that year.

In an in-depth interview broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme, Mrs Paisley said that his exit from the party and church was "very hurtful because Ian had given the best years of his life".

Disappointed

"We did talk about it and I think it was worth it," she said.

"I mean Christ was betrayed, so we can't expect anything better from people - humanity is what it is.

"I'm disappointed in it, what they did.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Mrs Paisley also spoke of her husband's relationship with Martin McGuinness

"But I just have to let it be, I don't dwell on it because it would grieve me too much and I'm not going to let anything like that get in on my life.

"And Ian was the same, we didn't let it get in on us.

Bowed

"We lived through it and we got on with our own lives and they didn't take his happiness away nor mine nor our family's.

"But these things leave a scar on your mind and your heart really."

Mrs Paisley also talked about her late husband's relationship with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and recalled the moment he visited their home at the time of Mr Paisley's death.

"He went in and bowed his head [over the coffin] and was quite emotional about it," she said.

"I think that says a lot, because you can't put that sort of thing on, he was genuine.

"I think that speaks volumes for the influence Ian had on him and for the absolutely unique friendship that came about between them."

Baroness Paisley's interview on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback is available to hear again on the BBC Radio iPlayer.