NW men key at both ends of Paisley leadership

Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley

Londonderry men were key players at the alpha and omega of Ian Paisley’s career as leader of the DUP, if his recent testimony on state television is to be believed.

Desmond Boal, originally from Londonderry, established the DUP alongside, Dr Paisley in 1971.

And according to the interview it was another Londonderry man, Nigel Dodds, who allegedly told him he should step down as leader, nearly forty years later.

Dr Paisley claimed Mr Dodds told him in 2008: “I want you to be gone by Friday.”

But Mr Dodds responded by stating: “Clearly the passage of time has diminished accurate recall of events.

“What is being said now by Lord Bannside about meetings is inaccurate and stands in stark contrast to everything that he said and did at the time and, indeed, during the years since.”

It has also emerged that Mr Boal, like Mr Dodds, was ultimately estranged from Dr Paisley over power-sharing with Sinn Féin.

Baronness Paisley said Mr Boal visited the family home and said: “’I just can’t believe he’s done what he’s done and I just don’t want anything more to do with you.’

“I said: ‘Desmond, I’m very sorry it has to come to that but... what could he do? Would you have him responsible for another 30 or 40 years of warfare and devastation and killing and murdering, or do what he did?’”

She said “he just walked away”, adding it was “a very big blow” to her husband.