Donaldson Replaces Paisley Jr.

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  1. DONALDSON REPLACES PAISLEY JR
    02/26/08 11:51 EST

    Ian Paisley jnr finally stood down from his ministerial post
    in the Northern Ireland Executive today.

    The junior minister announced his intention to resign last
    week after months of media pressure about his relationship
    with north Antrim property developer Seymour Sweeney.

    Mr Paisley denied he was guilty of any wrongdoing in
    lobbying for a number of Mr Sweeney's property ventures,
    including a plan for a privately operated visitors' center
    at the World Heritage Giants Causeway site.

    Mr Paisley confirmed he was stepping down on the floor of
    the Assembly.

    "I want to place on record that I have been honoured to
    serve this country and indeed honored to serve under the
    leadership of the First Minister in particular," the
    Democratic Unionist North Antrim representative told MLAs.

    "I leave with high hopes, in good spirit and with deep
    humility and with gratefulness in my heart."

    His father paid tribute to his contribution to the
    government. "I would just like to say as the First Minister
    a word of thanks from the members of the office, of my own
    office and the deputy's, our thanks to my son Ian for the
    hard work he did while he was in office and we wish him well
    in the future."

    The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson (45) was today sworn in to
    replace Mr Paisley jnr. The former Ulster Unionist was sworn
    in by Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker William Hay.

    Mr Donaldson defected from the UUP to the DUP in 2004 along
    with Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Arlene Foster.