Socialist Worker

Ian Paisley 1951-2017

by Dave Gibson for Barnsley SWP
Issue No. 2543

Ian Paisley 1951-2017

Ian Paisley 1951-2017

Ian Paisley, who died last week, was a revolutionary socialist for over four decades in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

He joined the International Socialists, forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), in 1974 as a 23 year old striking engineering worker.

He quickly became a central figure in our branch and remained so for well over 20 years. Partly due to ill health, he later became less involved but remained firmly committed to the SWP’s ideas.

Ian was an inspiration with his intelligent thinking, dry sense of humour and warmth of character.

He showed all of those qualities in 2014 as part of the South Yorkshire Freedom Riders’ fight to win back free train travel for pensioners.

Ian became a union shop steward and convenor at Plansee Tools in Rotherham.

In 1981 he led a seven-month struggle for a pay rise that began with workers occupying the factory. After a court order drove them out, they toured the country fighting for solidarity.

Throughout the Miners’ Strike of 1984/85, Ian was central to organising solidarity in Barnsley.

A committed anti-racist and anti-fascist, Ian was central to establishing our Anti Nazi League branch. When the Northern Irish loyalist bigot also called Ian Paisley spoke in his village, Ian led the protests.

Music and education were two of his passions. He worked for many years at Northern College, a local adult education college.

We will miss him. Our thoughts are with his partner Rose, his four children and their families.

Article information

Tue 28 Feb 2017, 16:08 GMT
Issue No. 2543
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