Little interest in Ian Paisley memorabilia at auction as election posters sell for a tenner

The items would have been expected to attract a fair bit of interest, but only secured one low bid

Reverend Paisley

Ciaran O'NeillSunday World

Ulster almost said no thanks last week when given a chance to buy Reverend Ian Paisley memorabilia.

Election posters featuring the former DUP leader, who famously first used the “Ulster Says No” battle cry during protests over the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, were put up for sale at an auction in Belfast.

However, there was little interest in the items and after attracting just one bid they were sold for £10.

A picture of former IRA leader Michael Collins also only attracted one bid - but was sold for £65.

Ulster Says No was the name of a unionist campaign against the 1985 agreement which gave the Irish government an advisory role in the governance of Northern Ireland.

The agreement was signed by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Taoiseach Garrett Fitzgerald.

Unionists said they were not prepared to accept what they described as foreign interference in the internal affairs of the province.

However, the Irish government insisted its advisory role was important to protect the rights of nationalists in Northern Ireland.

Reverend Paisley

The Ulster Says No campaign was led by Reverend Paisley and involved a series of large protests, including one at City Hall in Belfast attended by an estimated 100,000 people.

''Where do the terrorists return to for sanctuary?'' Reverend Paisley told the huge crowd.

''To the Irish Republic,'' he said, ''and yet Mrs. Thatcher tells us the Republic may have some say in our province. We say, Never! Never! Never! Never!''

The items put up for sale at last week’s online auction managed by Laganside Auctions were two election posters for Reverend Paisley, who died in 2014, along with a book he wrote called An Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans.

There were no dates on the election posters.

The items would have been expected to attract a fair bit of interest, but only secured one low bid.

Despite his party’s hardline opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the subsequent 1998 Good Friday Agreement, Reverend Paisley eventually led the DUP into the powersharing government at Stormont in 2007.

As leader of the largest party, he took on the position of First Minister while Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness was Deputy First Minister.

The two men, once sworn enemies, formed an unlikely friendship as a result of their political partnership and became known as the “Chuckle Brothers”.

The large Michael Collins print on sale at last week’s online auction included the signature of artist Leo Whelan. The original painting was created in 1922, a short time before Collins was killed.

The Cork man was a leading figure in the early-20th century struggle for Irish independence.

During the War of Independence, he was Director of Intelligence of the IRA and a government minister of the self-declared Irish Republic.

Collins was killed in an ambush in August 1922, during the Irish civil war.

Other interesting items sold at the Belfast auction were two map layouts of the infamous De Lorean factory in the city.

US businessman John DeLorean set up the factory in 1981 to produce the futuristic DeLorean vehicle made famous in the Back to the Future movies.

DeLorean arrived in Northern Ireland from Detroit, where he made his name as the youngest-ever vice-president of GM Motors.

In Troubles-ravaged west Belfast, he used £84m of taxpayers' money to build the unique sports car.

The first shipment of cars left Dunmurry in April 1981 but poor reviews of its quality and a refusal from then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to lend DeLorean any more money caused difficulties.

In May 1981, it was announced that the plant would close, and in 1982, the FBI arrested the tycoon after a drugs operation in LA, where he was charged with taking part in a plot to smuggle 100 kilos of cocaine. DeLorean was later acquitted of all charges.

The two maps of the Belfast DeLorean factory attracted significant interest at the auction and were eventually sold for £170.

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