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Campbell’s appalling outburst calls DUP’s integrity on talks into question – O’Dowd

23 November, 2014 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has said today the integrity and commitment of the DUP to the current talks process has been called into question by remarks made by Gregory Campbell at the DUP party conference at the weekend.

John O’Dowd said:

“Gregory Campbell claimed to be speaking on behalf of his party when he addressed his party conference and said and I quote:

‘On behalf of our party let me say clearly, and slowly so that Caitroina Ruane and Gerry Adams understand, we will NEVER agree to an Irish Language Act at Stormont and we will treat their entire wish list as no more than toilet paper.  They better get used to it.’

“In doing so Gregory Campbell is clearly dismissing the hopes, aspirations and negotiating rights of almost one half of our people in these talks. While we have come to expect such outbursts from Mr Campbell this tirade appears to have been delivered on behalf of his party.

"The DUP leader Peter Robinson needs to clarify was Gregory Campbell representing the DUP’s position as a whole as that calls into question the integrity and commitment of the DUP’s approach to the talks.”

And John O’Dowd said he is appalled that Gregory Campbell was allowed to use the DUP conference to insult the entire Irish language community once more.

“The insult directed by Gregory Campbell at the Irish language community from the DUP conference is appalling.

“He was clearly sticking two fingers up to the Irish language community and to authority of the Assembly which sanctioned him for his unacceptable behaviour in the chamber.

“I’m dismayed that Peter Robinson, in echoes of his failure to deal promptly with abuse directed at the Muslim community earlier this year, has added insult to injury by suggesting Campbell’s mockery was a piece of comedy.

"I can assure Mr Robinson if I was to dismiss the negotiating position of the DUP as toilet paper or insult anyone's culture as we have witnessed from Gregory Campbell the leadership of my party would not find it one bit funny.

“Peter Robinson needs to show some leadership and demonstrate to Irish speakers, nationalist and republicans that this contemptible behaviour is unacceptable in the 21st century.”

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