Northern Ireland politician and Member of Parliament Ian Paisley Jr (54) has announced that because of the Coronavirus he has decided self-isolate on the Indian Ocean Islands of the Maldives.
In a statement issued on his website Paisley writes. “Because of the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus, I am taking the opportunity to show leadership and will travel to the Maldives to self-isolate.” He said.
“It is incumbent on those of us in leadership roles to make sacrifices along with the ‘ordinary man on the street. That is why I am travelling to the Maldives.” The statement read then went on. “It was a difficult choice, but it had to be taken.”
Paisley is not unfamiliar with political controversies as he recently came into public attention after being suspended from Parliament in 2018 because he broke paid advocacy rules by receiving hospitality from the Sri Lankan government without declaring this to the Commons.
His membership of the DUP had also been suspended between 24 July and 18 September 2018, while the party investigated his conduct.
A spokesperson for Paisley spoke to reporters after the announcement went on his website.
“This selfless act of Ian’s should be seen in the context of a noble-man leading by example. By self-isolating on the Maldives along with his extended family and approximately forty-four of his staff, friends and colleagues, Ian typifies public service and civic responsibility.”
The spokesperson went on to outline additional measures Paisley will take in the public interest.
“By spending time scuba diving and breathing filtered and compressed air underwater while exploring the island’s world-famous coral reefs Paisley hopes to reduce any risk of catching the virus.
Furthermore, Ian hopes to spend as much time as his busy scuba schedule allows in silent periods of solitary meditation on the island’s sandy sun-kissed beaches. He is a shining example to us all,” the emotional and proud spokesperson added.
The spokesperson was asked if the cost of Paisley’s idyllic island self-isolation period would be paid for out of public funds.
She replied, “Well, I’m glad you asked me that. As you all know, Ian has always strived to be open, honest and transparent with his finances. But at this moment in time, we are not exactly sure as to where the funding will come from.
“Perhaps from Westminster, perhaps from the Northern Assembly or even from the Sri-Lankan or Maldives governments but you can rest assured Ian won’t be putting his hand in his pocket,” she added.
MeanwhileinIreland has learned that the Paisley group have already left for the Maldives and while social media interaction is being curtailed Ian hopes to show solidarity with his supporters back in Ireland and will drop a postcard over the next week or two.