Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

IMAGE Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

IMAGE Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

IMAGE Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Newport Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Oregon

IMAGE Tuesday, 17 May 2011
A cultural celebration of the seven Celtic nations, the new festival on the Oregon coast features Celtic music, dance, food, drink, crafts, vendors, kids events, family histories and Highland Games. Read More...

World's largest tidal power project

IMAGE Thursday, 07 April 2011
The world's largest tidal stream energy array will be built in the Sound of Islay on Scotland's west coast. Read More...

Wales' new devolution settlement

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
Following the 'Yes' victory in the 3 March 2011 Referendum, Wales will now be able to pass its own laws in twenty policy fields. Read More...

The Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has an unparalleled display of polygonal columns of basalt rock resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Read More...

Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley to retire in May 2008

Ian Paisley has announced that he will resign as First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in May.
Ian Paisley has announced that he will resign as First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in May.

The 81 year old veteran unionist leader confirmed last March 4th that he will quit in May 2008 after the international investment conference organised in Belfast by the Northern Irish Executive.

Dr. Paisley will resign as Northern Ireland's First Minister and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

His decision came after weeks of speculation and mounting pressure from within his own party to stand aside, following the resignation of his son Ian Paisley Jr. after a controversy about his links to a property developer.

Ian Paisley's son resigned February 18th as a minister in the Northern Irish powersharing executive after criticism about his financial dealings with a developer in his constituency and revelations that he was also being employed as a researcher in Westminster by his father.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey said that employing family members in unjustified circumstances had brought politics into disrepute.

It is understood that the First Minister of Northern Ireland decided to resign in order to prevent further instability in the Democratic Unionist Party and in the DUP-Sinn Féin powersharing Executive.

In his very own style, Dr. Paisley refused to endorse a successor saying: "This is not the Church of Rome. This is not an apostolic succession and I have no right to say who will success me", but confirmed that his successor will have his support and encouragement.

Political analysts expect Minister for Finance and DUP Deputy Leader Peter Robinson to succeed Ian Paisley as the DUP leader and Northern Ireland First Minister.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson admitted the party would have to adjust to the departure of its founder and leader: “The DUP was very much moulded around him. He's the only leader we have ever had”, said the Finance Minister.

After his resignation, Ian Paisley will continue as an MLA in Stormont and MP in Westminster.


Political leaders pay homage to Ian Paisley

Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness highlighted the “positive and constructive working relationship” of Ian Paisley at the helm of the power sharing government.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern described Ian Paisley as "a giant figure in the history of these islands" and as “a man who worked tirelessly for the people he represents and who has sincerely done what he believed was right.”

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Dr. Paisley was a controversial figure who showed real conviction in establishing the power-sharing Assembly.

Irish Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said Mr Paisley said the Ian Paisley who resigns as First Minister is very different to the Ian Paisley who first led opposition to cross-border co-operation in the 1960s.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair praised Dr. Paisley's decisive contribution to the peace process: “In the final analysis, he made it happen. The man famous for saying 'No' will go down in history for saying 'yes'."

Ian Paisley said that the best tribute that could be paid to him was for people to continue making politics work in Northern Ireland.

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Celtic Countries is the online magazine for people who enjoy the Celtic nations, their natural splendour, culture, and lifestyles.

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