Belfast Telegraph

Riled Peter Robinson defends Campbell's Irish language 'joke' as he hits back over 'tedious questioning'

By Adrian Rutherford

Peter Robinson reacted angrily after being asked for his view of Gregory Campbell's latest jibe at the Irish language.

The DUP leader and First Minister accused a BBC journalist of being "tedious" when questioned on the issue.

Mr Robinson claimed that people had overreacted to Mr Campbell's remarks, where he joked about having yoghurt and curry at the party conference.

"This is getting tedious," Mr Robinson said.

"If all that you have out of the whole of the party conference is to question me about that, then there are better things I could be doing with my time.

"Lighten up will you? It's a party conference and it was a bit of comedy in the middle of it, let's get on with some real business."

However, the SDLP's Irish language spokesman branded Mr Campbell's comments as beneath contempt.

Dominic Bradley, a fluent Irish speaker, said: "It is highly disappointing that yet again Gregory Campbell would use a public forum to insult so many people.

"Gregory's so-called joke wasn't funny last time and given that he was prevented from speaking in the Assembly Chamber as sanction, we might have hoped that Mr Campbell would have taken the opportunity to reflect on the unnecessary hurt he caused.

"Instead Gregory Campbell uses the platform of the DUP conference to not only repeat the insult but compound it by saying that he would treat a proposed Irish language act like toilet paper."

Mr Bradley said the comments were an attack on the wider Irish community.

"Gregory Campbell's remarks are beneath contempt and reflect more on his own narrow-minded mentality and his unwillingness to move forward," he added.

"Peter Robinson's attempt to trivialise these remarks clearly shows the tensions within the DUP.

"It remains to be seen if Mr Robinson has the remaining leadership clout to face them down," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph