PRESIDENT Michael D
Higgins has released a statement in Inishowen today
expressing his "sadness" following the death of Dr
Ian Paisley (88).
"I have heard with sadness of the passing of Dr Ian
Paisley and on behalf of Sabina and myself, I would
like to express to his wife Eileen and to his family
our deepest sympathy," said President Higgins.
"(He) was a man of deep convictions. Irrespective of
one's political perspective, Dr Paisley was
undoubtedly a man of immense influence on the
contemporary history of this island.
"His early career was characterised by an
uncompromising position of a constitutional kind.
However, his embracing of the change necessary to
achieve a discourse that might lead to peace was of
immense significance, as was his commitment to
building relationships in support of that peace."
President Higgins added: "Having sent a
representative to my inauguration, Sabina and I were
happy to welcome him and Eileen to Áras an
Uachtaráin, where he showed great interest in the
history of the institution and the building.
"I also had the opportunity to speak with Dr Paisley
at his last public engagement in City Hall, Belfast
in November of last year."
"I convey my sincere sympathies to Baroness Paisley
and to his sons and daughters Ian, Kyle, Rhonda,
Sharon and Cherith on their loss, as well as to Dr
Paisley's friends and colleagues within politics and
the faith communities," Mr Higgins concluded.
A book of condolence will open at Derry's Guildhall
tomorrow at 10am to allow people extend their
sympathy to the Paisley family.