| 17.6°C Belfast

Unbowed, unbroken and no regrets: DUP's Campbell says Irish remarks showed republican leadership 'in worst possible light'


Gregory Campbell

Gregory Campbell

Gregory Campbell - German Spy Tweet

Gregory Campbell - German Spy Tweet

Gregory Campbell

Veteran DUP MP Gregory Campbell has remained defiant over his latest remarks on the Irish language, instead saying it shows republican leadership "in the worst possible light".

Complaints have also been made to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over the social media post earlier this week.

This week the politician again sparked anger when he repeated his remarks from 2014 which earned him a rebuke from the Assembly Speaker.

"Asked if I regret using the 'curried yoghurt' phrase," Mr Campbell said in a Facebook post on Tuesday night.

"What is often overlooked is that immediately after I said that in November 2014, Gerry Adams, in direct response to me, said at a meeting 'But what’s the point? The point is to actually break these b......s - that’s the point'.

"No, I didn't deliberately set out to show the leadership of republicanism in the worst possible light but it seemed to work out that way.

"Unbowed, unbroken, so no, Je Ne Regrette!"


Gregory Campbell - German Spy Tweet

Gregory Campbell - German Spy Tweet

Gregory Campbell - German Spy Tweet

Complaints have been made about the post to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards by Conradh na Gaeilge, an advocacy group for Irish language speakers, and a 12-year-old boy.

Conradh na Gaeilge alleged the post is a breach of the House of Commons code of conduct, saying it was “offensive and insulting in nature to those who speak the Irish language”.

In a complaint letter shared on Twitter, Adam Mac Giolla Easbuic, who attends an Irish Medium School in Dungiven – within Mr Campbell’s constituency – requested the commissioner investigates.

He wrote: “I find Mr Campbell’s comments extremely offensive and disrespectful."

“I don’t think his comments are suitable for an MP to make."

The East Londonderry MP was accused of mocking the Irish language after posting what was described as a "crass, offensive and despicable" comment on social media.

Posting about a BBC programme about a suspected Nazi spy who lived in Donegal during the Second World War, he said: "The humourous bit was that he was supposed to have spoken Irish with a German accent.

"I vill not be tempted to ask vot is dis curried yoghurt mein herr."

In 2014 Mr Campbell was barred from addressing the Assembly for a day after making similar remarks at Stormont. He began an address to the Assembly with "Curry my yoghurt can coca coalyer".

He was aping the Irish "go raibh maith agat, Ceann Comhairle," which translates as "thank you, Speaker" and is used by some MLAs in the chamber.

Mr Campbell refused to apologise for his words in 2014 and was criticised by then Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin for a "breach of standards".

He later joked about the comment at a DUP conference that year. He opened his conference speech saying it was always good to start the day with a healthy breakfast while holding a carton of yoghurt.

In the aftermath of his comments the then Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams caused offence when talking about the "Trojan horse" in the republican strategy for outreach "to people on the basis of equality" and how that was the way to "break these bastards".

"The point is to actually break these bastards - that's the point. And what's going to break them is equality. That's what's going to break them - equality.

"Who could be afraid of equality? Who could be afraid of treating somebody the way you want to be treated?"

Mr Adams was apparently answering a question about Sinn Fein's relationship with the DUP in the light of Gregory Campbell's disparaging comments about the Irish language.

He later apologised for using offensive language, insisting he was not referring to unionists.

Sinn Fein challenged the DUP to act on Mr Gregory's latest comments.

Despite repeated requests, the party did not respond.

Belfast Telegraph