Belfast Telegraph

Actor Rea's F-word rant over Foster provokes DUP rebuke

By Jim McDowell

A war of words has erupted between Oscar-nominated actor Stephen Rea and the DUP over the film and theatre star's use of the 'F-word' against Arlene Foster.

Gerry Adams, whose voice-overs Belfast-born Rea did during the Sinn Fein broadcasting ban in the late 1980s, has been sucked into the row by DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

The actor's four-letter foray was sparked in an interview he gave the Sunday Times.

Mr Rea - who married and had two sons with Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price, though they divorced before her death four years ago - targeted the former Stormont First Minister's controversial "crocodile" comment when the DUP leader countered Sinn Fein's demand for an Irish Language Act by saying that "if you feed a crocodile it will keep coming back and looking for more".

Interviewed for the Sunday Times Culture magazine, it noted that Mr Rea was born to parents "who were Protestants on paper but who never saw the inside of a church except for funerals". After his father attended a Catholic funeral, he first observed that "some people in the north behaved very well with both groups".

He then said: "But officially it's a nightmare when you see what's going on now with crocodiles and everything."

He pinpointed Mrs Foster and said: "F*** her. She pushed it right back to (former Stormont Prime Minister Lord) Brookeborough, right back to 'wouldn't have a Catholic about the place' - that's what Brookeborough said.

"It's an outrage and she hasn't apologised for it."

The actor refused to accept that Mrs Foster subsequently stated that she regretted using the word crocodile, and that she said the comment referred to Sinn Fein and not the Irish Language Act, and that she was not anti-Catholic.

But last night DUP veteran Mr Donaldson hit back, accusing the actor of misrepresentation.

He said: "It is highly regrettable that Stephen Rea has sought to misrepresent what Arlene said.

"The comment she made was focused on Sinn Fein and not Catholic people in general."

The MP noted that the actor made no reference to what Mr Adams said at a Sinn Fein meeting in Fermanagh in 2014 when he referred to the DUP in terms of "breaking the b******s".

Referring to the actor's marriage to Price, he added: "Perhaps Mr Rea would be better reflecting on the actions perpetrated by the IRA for over 30 years, and the impact that had on their victims and the families of those victims."

Regarding the use of the F-word in respect of his party leader, he commented: "If Stephen Rea really wants to make a contribution to reconciliation, this kind of intemperate language is not the way to do it."

In the magazine interview, when asked if he was a nationalist, Mr Rea replied: "I've always had an Irish passport, long before Brexit, long before the EU even. I am an Irishman."

He added: "I absolutely believe there should be a united Ireland."

Although he provided Mr Adams' voice after the broadcasting ban was introduced in 1988, he said he wasn't "hired", but he did it after journalist Mary Holland asked him to, telling him she detected a "relaxing of positions" from Sinn Fein and that "the people have to hear what they're saying".

And the actor revealed he turned down an offer to play the Sinn Fein president in recent film The Journey.

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