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1 December 2014 Edition

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Gregory Campbell’s language insults talks

Editorial | Eagarfhocal

• Gregory Campbell

There was absolutely nothing funny about it. It was calculated and insulting

GREGORY CAMPBELL’S scripted insults in the Assembly (intentionally repeated at the Democratic Unionist Party conference) to the Irish Language Act are a worrying reflection of the attitude of the leadership of the DUP to the all-party talks at Stormont and parity of esteem.

DUP leader and First Minister Peter Robinson has made excuses for Gregory Campbell.

This is not a time for making excuses.

It is a time for leadership and taking action to ensure this never happens again.

The DUP’s collective stance sheds a negative message right to the heart of the talks the parties are engaged in at Stormont to find a resolution to the outstanding issues.

Under no circumstances can Gregory Campbell’s unapologetic statements be passed off by the First Minister as comedy. There was absolutely nothing funny about it. It was calculated and insulting. Even when it was made clear that it was insulting, Gregory Campbell, one of Peter Robinson’s most experienced Westminster MPs, went out of his way to repeat the offence at the DUP’s showcase annual conference.

At a time when Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are working to implement strategies for building an integrated community, it is disheartening to hear the language and tones employed by Gregory Campbell used to denigrate the Irish language and those thousands of people for whom it is an important part of their identity and culture.

Gregory Campbell and the DUP must appreciate that this is not the language of progress.

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