LORD Bannside, formerly Ian Paisley Snr, said yesterday that the ex-prime minister was “a great”.
“Our country has become much the poorer for the passing of Baroness Thatcher,” said the former First Minister.
“In every phase of life she was great – great as a woman, great as a wife, great as a mother, great as a political candidate, great as a member of Parliament, especially as the first woman prime minister, great as a winner of the war, and great as a member of the House of Lords.
“I had many meetings with her when I put Ulster’s case before her and condemned some of her actions in relation to this Province.
“Nevertheless, through good report and ill report, she listened to the views of the unionist people and respected them.
“Today we salute her as a truly great leader and offer our sympathy to her son and daughter.”
Baroness Thatcher’s meeting with Taoiseach Charles Haughey in Dublin in 1980 was regarded as a landmark since it promised a review of “the totality of relations between the two countries”.
It was the most powerful British Government delegation ever to have visited Dublin.
But at a private meeting at Westminister soon after, Dr Paisley accused her of “undermining the NI constitutional guarantee”.
She denied that she was doing anything of the sort, and said she was “dismayed” by the accusation.