Sinn Féin will never get Irish language act, DUP members told

Gregory Campbell says SF ‘wish list’ will be treated ‘as no more than toilet paper’

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell said Sinn Féin’s “dream of a 2016 united Ireland is now nothing short of an embarrassment”. Photograph: Eric Luke Staff Photographer

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell said Sinn Féin’s “dream of a 2016 united Ireland is now nothing short of an embarrassment”. Photograph: Eric Luke Staff Photographer

 

The East Derry MP Gregory Campbell who recently lampooned the Irish language in the Northern Assembly with his “curry my yogurt, a can coca coalyer” comment has told Sinn Féin it will never get an Irish language act.

Mr Campell said at the DUP annual conference that Sinn Féin would love nothing more than to lull unionists into agreeing to “costly projects” such as a bill of rights, and “their long demanded Irish language Act”.

“On behalf of our party let me say clearly, and slowly so that Caitriona 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,” he said.

Mr Campbell said Sinn Féin’s united Ireland project was in tatters and “their dream of a 2016 united Ireland is now nothing short of an embarrassment”.

He added, “Sinn Féin spends more time manufacturing outrage and anger to cover over their sordid activities over the last 40 years. After years of dealing with pushover unionists this party forced republicans to accept the democratic norms. While progress has been achieved more remains to be done. The DUP will continue to confront republicans and provide leadership for our province”.

South Antrim MP, the Rev William McCrea warned against any unionist yearning for a return to direct rule of Northern Ireland from Westminster. “To those who advocate a return to direct rule I would say simply this: be careful what you wish for. Direct rule means a return to unionist isolation and powerlessness,” he told delegates.

“History should teach us that whoever occupies Hillsborough Castle and from whatever party across the water they may come, it is only unionists in Northern Ireland that can be absolutely depended upon to keep Northern Ireland inside the union.

Mr McCrea, in calling for a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union, said that without apology the DUP was a strongly euro-sceptic party. “We oppose Euro-federalism tooth-and-nail and will fight all the way to ensure that the people of this country are given an in/out referendum,” he said.

“For far too long the political class in all of the three main parties in Great Britain have sought to stymie any expression of public will on this issue. That has to stop. It is only right and proper that the British people should settle this question and the sooner the better,” he added.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley criticised the SDLP who with Sinn Féin opposes the British National Crime Agency operating in Northern Ireland. The agency, dubbed a British “FBI”, is charged with tackling serious organised crime that crosses regional and international borders.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP oppose the agency because, they argue, it is not accountable to local policing arrangements in Northern Ireland.

Mr Paisley said: “I can’t believe that the SDLP wants to be associated with an effort to protect fuel fraudsters, paedophiles, cyber criminals from being properly tracked down and taken to book.

Yet for some obscure and silly reason – because the National Crime Agency is called national – they seem to be opposed to implementing that agency. We can no longer stand by and allow the government not to implement the agency working properly.”