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DUP chief Ian Paisley is set for a historic meeting with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Dr Paisley, who has always refused to meet Republic of Ireland politicians, has requested the meeting, which he claimed will be "signi- ficant".

He will meet Mr Ahern in his role as Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church to discuss attacks on his churches in the Republic.

Dr Pailsey said yesterday: "This is purely a church matter. It is not about politics. It is about the right to worship God.

"Southern politicians criticise attacks on Roman Catholic churches in Northern Ireland as sec- tarian but insist they are not sectarian in their country."

Dr Paisley will lead a delegation from two congregations whose churches have been attacked by vandals.

A recent arson attack on Corrygarry Free Presby- terian Church in Co Monaghan caused pounds 100,000 worth of damage and a former Orange Hall in Castleblaney, recently bought by the Church for renovation, had its windows smashed.

Dr Paisley said the attacks were causing "grave concern" in the Free Presbyterian Church.

He said: "The Corrygarry Church was set alight at both ends and I cannot accept the reason the Garda gave me personally when I visited the site - that it was done by drunken vandals with no religious motivation."

The Free Presbyterian Church has a third Republic of Ireland congregation at Convoy in Co Donegal.
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Author:Roberts, Joe
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 22, 1999
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