Ian Paisley, Northern Ireland’s firebrand Protestant leader, who vowed never to compromise with Irish Catholic nationalists, then, in his twilight, accepted a power-sharing agreement that envisioned a new era of peace in Northern Ireland after decades of sectarian violence, died on Friday in Belfast. He was 88.
In failing health in recent years, Mr. Paisley had been fitted with a pacemaker in 2011 after falling ill in London and had retired from politics and the pulpit. His wife, Eileen, confirmed his death in a statement.
The day many thought would never come arrived in Belfast on May 8, 2007. Mr. Paisley, founder of the Democratic Unionist party, which sought continued association with Britain, and Martin McGuinness, a Sinn Fein leader and former commander of the Irish Republican Army, which had fought for a united Ireland, took oaths as the leader and deputy leader, respectively, of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government.