Sep 15, 2014 4:51 AM

Public praise, private Belfast funeral for Paisley

The Associated Press

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) Northern Ireland politicians are publicly honoring their former leader, Ian Paisley, as his family holds his funeral in conditions of exceptional privacy.

The 88-year-old Paisley died Friday after a half-century of doggedly opposing compromise with the Irish Catholic minority before making a twilight U-turn toward peacemaking.

Senior members of the British Protestant party he founded, the Democratic Unionists, have expressed unhappiness at being excluded from Monday's family-run funeral. Media also are barred.

Analysts say Paisley's widow and children remain angery that longtime supporters forced Paisley to step down as leader both of his party and his evangelical church after he agreed to lead a unity government alongside a former Irish Republican Army commander and other Catholics.

Northern Ireland Assembly members are making public statements Monday to honor Paisley.


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