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.

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