Ian Paisley pays tribute to McGuinness' journey towards peace

Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness

The son of Ian Paisley has said it is more important to reflect on Martin McGuinness' latter days advocating peace than his early days in the IRA.

Ian Paisley Jnr, who as a junior minister worked alongside his father and the Sinn Fein veteran during their time jointly leading the Stormont executive, acknowledged many would have "mixed feelings" on his passing.

Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness

Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness

The North Antrim MP said he had gone from viewing Mr McGuinness as the "godfather of the IRA" to considering him a personal friend.

He said he took a Christian view when assessing his legacy.

"I think the Christian view in life is how a person's journey started is of course important, but it is how it finishes which is actually more important," he said.

"The journey of Martin McGuinness's life ended in a very different way to what people would have supposed it would have done."

He said Mr McGuinness was once a man who struck fear into people's hearts in Northern Ireland.

"Yet he became the necessary man in government to deliver a stable and necessary peace, and that's a complex and remarkable journey," he added.

Mr Paisley said the respect Mr McGuinness afforded his father during their time as first and deputy first minister, and afterwards, was "genuine".

"As a son who was very close to his father I could give respect to anyone who could give respect to my father and treat my father with respect," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

He added: "We did end up getting on in a respectful and friendly way."