Page last updated at 21:20 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 22:20 UK

DUP bids farewell to Ian Paisley


First Minister Ian Paisley's speech in full

First Minister Ian Paisley has marked the end of his political career with a speech in the grounds of the King's Hall in Belfast.

He will hand the leadership of the DUP over to Peter Robinson on Saturday.

Before the 100 a plate dinner Mr Paisley spoke of his hope that the IRA's army council would stand down and that policing powers would be devolved.

"There has been an amazing turnabout and please God we will see it come to full fruition," he said.

"We look forward to the time when police powers can be placed in the hands of the people but that cannot be until these pressing matters are satisfactorily resolved."

More than 350 people attended the farewell dinner which the DUP hosted for him.

Party members were joined by dignitaries including the Speaker of the House of Commons, the first minister of Wales and the NI secretary.

The event signalled the last official function for the only man ever to lead the DUP.

While Peter Robinson is due to become DUP leader on Saturday, he must wait until next Thursday before following his political mentor as first minister.

Robinson to follow Paisley path
14 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland
Power-sharing will last: Robinson
07 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland

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