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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 19:00 GMT
In quotes: Paisley to step down
As Northern Ireland's First Minister Ian Paisley announces he is to stand down from the post in May, his political friends and foes have been reacting.

PETER HAIN, FORMER NORTHERN IRELAND SECRETARY

He played an absolutely historic role in ending the deadlock and establishing permanent devolved government and deserves enormous credit for the courage and vision he showed.

I am sure that the decision he has taken will be the best one for his family as a very close family man. I wish him all the best for the future.

DAVID CAMERON, CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADER

Ian Paisley has been a formidable figure in British politics for many decades.

His term as First Minister of Northern Ireland has helped to forge a peace which many thought was impossible to achieve.

Dr Paisley's willingness to work closely with former opponents to build a new future for Northern Ireland has captured the world's imagination and earned him the gratitude of the people of Northern Ireland.

MARTIN MCGUINNESS, DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER

This historic decision he took to go into government with Sinn Fein has changed the course of Irish history for ever.

I will look back fondly at the relationship we have had over the last 10 months.

Ian Paisley was the only Unionist leader who could have led Unionism with such decisive authority. I believe Ian Paisley was as dedicated and committed to making this process work as I am.


SEE ALSO
Paisley to quit as first minister
04 Mar 08 |  Northern Ireland
Profile: Ian Paisley
01 Feb 07 |  Northern Ireland



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