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Mar 05,2008
Paisley stepping down in Northern Ireland
by UPI

BELFAST, Northern Ireland - Ian Paisley said Tuesday he is stepping down as Northern Ireland's first minister and as head of his political party, the DUP.

He is expected to be succeeded by Peter Robinson, the party's deputy leader, the BBC reported. Paisley, who turns 82 next month, had taken the first minister post last May.

Paisley, who will continue as a member of Parliament, had resigned as moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church in January, the British network reported.

"I came to this decision a few weeks ago when I was thinking very much about the forthcoming investment conference and what was going to come after the conference," he said. "I thought that it is a marker, a very big marker and it would be a very appropriate time for me to bow out."

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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