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Ian Paisley

The man once seen as the embodiment of Protestant supremacism has agreed to share power with Sinn Féin. But did Northern Ireland have to wait for his giant ego to rise to the top of the unionist pile before a deal was possible?

By Mick Fealty   May 2007

Ian Paisley has been the single most disruptive figure in Northern Ireland’s unionist politics over the last 40 years. Yet at the end of March, the veto-wielding “Dr No” agreed to end a conflict that has claimed almost 3,700 lives and stained British and Irish life for two generations. In early May, the 81 year old will become first minister in a new Northern Ireland power-sharing executive. As if to underline the painstaking political choreography that lay behind the final deal, it was clinched with a photo opportunity the precise details of which took several senior civil servants many hours…

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