Firebrand Ian Paisley's way with words

12th September 2014, Comments 0 comments

Former Northern Irish first minister Ian Paisley, who died on Friday aged 88, was renowned for his fiery rhetoric brimming with biblical imagery -- describing alcohol as "devil's buttermilk" and his opponents as "bloodthirsty monsters".

The pro-British Protestant hardliner's hollering speeches were hugely popular among his followers and considered offensive by many others. Here are some of his most memorable quotes:

-- "No surrender!" - his regular rallying cry.

-- "Where do the terrorists operate from? From the Irish Republic! That's where they come from! Where do the terrorists return to for sanctuary? To the Irish Republic! And yet Mrs. Thatcher tells us that that republic must have some say in our province.

"We say: Never! Never! Never! Never!" - outside Belfast City Hall addressing more than 100,000 unionists protesting against the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.

-- "No, I wouldn't" - his response to nationalist leader John Hume, who said that if the word "no" were removed from the English language, Paisley would be speechless.

-- "I denounce you, antichrist! I refuse you as Christ's enemy and antichrist with all your false doctrine" - heckling pope John Paul II during his speech to the European Parliament in 1988, before being thrown out.

-- "Save Ulster from sodomy!" - his slogan in a 1970s and 80s campaign against legalising homosexuality.

-- "Line dancing is as sinful as any other type of dancing, with its sexual gestures and touching. It is an incitement to lust."

-- "Let me smell your breath first, son" - Paisley's regular request to reporters, whom he suspected of drinking, before he would allow them to interview him.

-- "The devil's buttermilk" - his description of alcoholic drinks, chiefly draught Guinness.

-- "Because it would be hard for you to poison them" - when asked why he had chosen boiled eggs for breakfast during a meeting at the Irish embassy in London.

-- "I am not going to sit down with bloodthirsty monsters who have been killing and terrifying my people" - opposing demands for talks with Sinn Fein.

-- "If anybody had told me a few years ago that I would be doing this, I would have been unbelieving" - inside the Parliament Buildings in Belfast after agreeing to enter a power-sharing government with Sinn Fein.

-- "I believe that Northern Ireland has come to a time of peace, a time when hate will no longer rule. How good it will be to be part of a wonderful healing in our province" - his inaugural speech as first minister.

© 2014 AFP

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