DUP MP Pengelly posts St Patrick's Day message in Irish
Emma Little-Pengelly reached out to Irish speakers over the weekend - by wishing them a Happy St Patrick's Day in Irish.
The DUP MP for South Belfast posted a message on her Facebook page saying British and Irish cultures were "interwoven", adding: "Respect for both and all our identities must go both ways."
She wrote: "We are all different, our British & Irish identities on this land have been interwoven for centuries. Respect for all our identities must go both and all ways. That is the only way we can build our shared future.
"To all Irish speakers this St Patrick's Day - La fheile Padraig Sona Duit (sic). For all, celebrate those aspects of our identities that weave through each other."
Explaining her decision to post the message, Ms Little-Pengelly said: "The DUP isn't against the Irish language at all. We are opposed to it being imposed on people. In addition, respect must go all ways - the intolerance shown by so many (including those demanding respect on this issue) to unionist and British culture in Northern Ireland must stop.
"I welcome the rich cultural diversity across the south Belfast community - that includes our Irish speaking community."
Last night she added: "Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to speak to many people, including some passionate Irish language speakers. I am struck by the misunderstanding by many who believe the DUP is against the Irish language. We are not.
"The party has made clear that we are fully supportive of the wide range of cultural expressions across Northern Ireland, the Irish language community is part of our culturally rich Northern Ireland. However, this should not mean the Irish language is imposed on those who do not want it, or unnecessarily on our under-pressure public services."