Edited By Benjamin Keatinge and Mary Pierse
Drawing on the disciplines of history, art, economics and literature, and dipping into the good wines of France and Ireland, the book paints a fascinating picture of the relationship between the two countries over three dramatic centuries.
Ian Paisley: Generating French Perceptions of an Ulster Loyalist Leader
The firmly fixed impressions of figures striding the world stage are, for the most part, media-generated. Convictions blend with visual images in the minds and memories of a public that may never encounter the characters in real life, and whose understanding of statements and actions is coloured, if not totally determined, by media portraits. In France, attitudes and understanding with regard to the Reverend Ian Paisley were forged by French journalists who covered stories of the Northern Irish conflict over many years. The portrayal of Paisley, one of the main participants in Northern-Irish political life for four decades (from 1968 to 2008), and possibly far too often represented as the voice of Ulster Protestantism, was mainly negative during this period. Focusing solely on the national press in France, on account of its numerous and wide-ranging reports and opinions, this article aims to review the image provided by French journalists of the man who, to the amazement of many, became the first holder of the post of First Minister of Northern Ireland on 8 May 2007, and, even more surprisingly, head of an interdenominational, power-sharing government.
Ian Paisley dominated the news headlines in a particular way between 1968 and 1972, at a time when his ‘fanaticism’ and ‘sectarianism’ were highlighted in the French media. Then, between 1972 (when London instituted direct rule of Northern Ireland) and 1991 (the beginning of the Peace Process), French journalists concentrated their reports on the war between the IRA and the British...
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