Sinn Féin MLA Rosie McCorley said the comments by Orange Order leader George Chittick regarding Protestants learning the Irish language were nothing more than an attempt at bullying people.
The West Belfast MLA said:
“Clearly George Chittick fails to understand that the Irish language belongs to everyone. It is encouraging that sections of the Protestant community have embraced the learning of the language and have not felt it would dilute their unionist or British identity.
“What this leading Orangeman is clearly attempting to do is to bully those Protestants into giving up the Irish language.
“The language is there for everyone and no amount of backward looking and ignorant comments will change that.
“Fortunately I would say that George Chittick does not speak for the wider Protestant community and that his comments will be seen more as pathetic and embarrassing than showing any form of leadership.”