Books of Condolence open for Lord Bannside

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Books of condolence have been opened at Council premises right across the province to allow people to pay tribute to the Democratic Unionist Party founder, who died on Friday at the age of 88.

Ballymena’s DUP Mayor Cllr Audrey Wales opened, and was first to sign, the Book of Condolence for Ian Paisley at The Braid on Saturday morning followed by Acting Chief Executive of Ballymena Borough Council, Rodger McKnight.

Members of the public have been able to sign books in the Guildhall in Derry and at Belfast City Hall.

NI Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness was among those paying their respects to the former Democratic Unionist Party leader and First Minister in Londonderry.

Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness were former enemies who ended up heading the power-sharing executive at Stormont.

Signing the book of condolence in Derry, Mr McGuinness wrote: “In rising above old enmities, we pointed the way to a better and peaceful future. The peace process and I have lost a friend.”

Politicians across the world have paid tribute to the controversial figure, who is being remembered as a man who “began as the militant and ended as the peace-maker”.

A spokesperson for Ballymena Council said: “Lord Bannside Dr Ian Paisley’s contribution to the borough has been of great significance and he and his family have long had an association with Ballymena. As such, he was honoured with the Freedom of the Borough in 2004.

“Ballymena Borough Council would like to reiterate the words of our First Citizen, Mayor of Ballymena Cllr Audrey Wales, and pass on our deepest condolences and regret to Dr Paisley’s family.

“A Book of Condolence has been opened at the reception of the Braid Town Hall and Arts Centre and members of the public are welcome to sign it during opening hours.”

Books of condolence have opened in several towns and cities, including Derry, Antrim, Coleraine, Newtownabbey and Lisburn.