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‘Thank you’ – Ian Paisley’s words to Martin McGuinness – BBC News

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Media captionDUP MP Ian Paisley on the BBC NI’s The View

Ian Paisley has expressed his thanks to Martin McGuinness saying his “remarkable journey not only saved lives but made the lives of countless people better”.

On Thursday the former deputy first minister confirmed he will not stand in the Northern Ireland Assembly election citing health issues.

He quit as deputy first minister in a row over a botched green energy scheme, sparking an election on 2 March.

Martin McGuinness forged a friendship with Mr Paisley’s father, the late Rev Dr Ian Paisley when they were first and deputy first ministers.

They were even dubbed the “chuckle brothers“, due to their close friendship.

When Rev. Ian Paisley died Mr McGuinness said he had lost “a friend”.

‘Thank-you’

Speaking on BBC NI’s The View programme, Mr Paisley praised Mr McGuinness’s contribution to the peace process.

“I want to say thank you.

“It is important that we actually do reflect on the fact that we would not be where we are in Northern Ireland, in terms of having stability, peace and the opportunity to rebuild our country, were it not for the work he did put in, especially with my father at the beginning of this long journey”.

Sinn Fin’s Conor Murphy told the programme that the late Rev Dr Ian Paisley and Mr McGuinness “were derided for the friendship they had, but people would like to see a few chuckles around Stormont today”.

Mr Paisley agreed with Mr Murphy saying, “perhaps if we got back to some of that foundation work of building a proper relationship we could get out of the mess we are currently in.”

He added: “I can say thank-you honestly and humbly and recognise the remarkable journey Martin McGuinness went on has not only saved lives, but has made the lives of countless people in Northern Ireland better because of the partnership government we worked on and put together.”

“I wish him well in his retirement and hope he has time to get over his health issues and enjoy retirement time with his wife and family,” he added.

Image caption ‘I can say thank-you honestly and humbly’ – Ian Paisley speaking on BBC’s The View

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38685158

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