Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Sunday, 11 May 2008 12:42 UK

Ian Paisley is the runaway winner

Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley is the overwhelming winner in the inaugural awards

The Politics Show has been dishing out the awards, one year on from devolution day, and it seems that Ian Paisley has stolen the show.

A panel made up of four political observers assessed the performance of Northern Ireland's 108 assembly members.

The top prize of "Politician of the Year" went to Ian Paisley after a number of high profile names were considered.

Other contenders included Martin McGuinness, Margaret Ritchie, Peter Robinson, Arlene Foster and Michael McGimpsey, but they faded into the background when next to the profile of Paisley.

In the "Best Communicator" category, there was a general bemoaning of the quality of many of the assembly members' abilities to communicate.

Politician of the Year: Ian Paisley
Best Communicator: Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness
Best Newcommer: Basil McCrea
Political Moment: Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams meet

As one panel member commented: "The pool - or rather puddle - of talent is so shallow, it's hard to draw up a medium-length shortlist even."

In the end the accolade was awarded jointly to First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

In the "Best Newcomer" category, the panel came to the unanimous decision of Basil McCrea MLA.

Debate was more heated over the category of "Political Moment of the Year".

The Politics Show awards

In a year of momentous changes in the political landscape, the panel considered Devolution Day on 8 May, Iris Robinson being ejected from Stormont, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness at Wall Street with President Bush, and the resignation of Ian Paisley Jnr.

Eventually they decided the winner would be the meeting of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley in March last year at Stormont.


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