Books of Condolence for the late Lord Bannside, the Reverend Dr Ian R K Paisley, have been formally opened at Craigavon Civic Centre as well as Lurgan and Portadown Town Halls by the Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Colin McCusker.
The books will give the people of the Borough the opportunity to pay their respects to the former First Minister, and express their condolence to the family.
They will be available for signing in the main entrance of all three venues during normal business hours until Friday, September 26. The completed books will then be presented to the Paisley Family.
The Mayor said: “First and foremost Ian Paisley was a loving husband, father and grandfather who was devoted to his family and I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the Paisley family.
“As a child and teenager I had the opportunity to meet Doctor Paisley and I always found him to be a very kind, friendly and gentle man and that’s how I will choose to remember him. These books will offer the citizens of Craigavon the chance to express their sympathy to the Paisley family and I am happy to provide this opportunity as the First Citizen of Craigavon.”
Upper Bann MP David Simpson said: “It is with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Dr Ian Paisley.
“He was a true friend of Ulster and a loyal servant of Our Lord. I have known Dr Paisley from a very early age and the impact he has had on my life will never be forgotten.
“I have had the privilege of sitting under the Gospel preaching of Dr Paisley on numerous occasions. Those services wither large or small were always regarded as great meetings by the ever optimistic Ian Paisley.”
He went on: “As I signed the book of condolence for Dr Ian Paisley my emotions were a mixture of sadness and gratitude for the service and dedication of Dr Paisley in this country.
“This book of condolence is an opportunity for everyone in the area to be able to leave their own personal message for the influence Dr Paisley has had on their life. The tributes in recent days have justified the commitment that Dr Paisley has made to both his political and spiritual career.”
Cllr Carla Lockhart on behalf of the DUP Council group in Craigavon and the ABC Council said, “Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with the Paisley family and the wider family circle. Doctor Paisley the founder of our party was someone we held in the highest regard, he was a father like figure to us all and he will be sadly missed. I pray that God will sustain his family in this time of grief. Doctor Paisley brought us on a journey and I know that his memory will live on in the annals of history.
“He was a political giant and someone who helped bring real peace to Northern Ireland but above he was someone of great faith and we know that it is absent from the body and present with the Lord.”
Commenting on the death at the weekend of Ian Paisley, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd MLA said,
“Ian Paisley’s death brings great personal loss to his immediate family and close friends and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this time of grief.
“Dr Paisley was a controversial figure throughout his political career and historians will judge his contribution to politics here, but he undoubtedly set the standard for future generations of unionism when he brought his party into the power-sharing Executive. This was a significant step for the peace process and, given his political background, was a courageous one.”