DUP issues standard letter for representatives to respond to constituents over talks criticism [Full text]
The DUP has provided a letter to its elected representatives to be issued should they receive criticism over the ongoing talks with Sinn Fein. The Belfast Telegraph has obtained the full letter which is below.
'Thank you for taking the time to get in touch. The Party's negotiating team has been engaged for three weeks in intensive discussions. Some progress has been made but there is no deal.
As the Party Leader said last Friday to the media, "more work remains to be done. Any deal must be fair and balanced".
We live in a divided country but we want to see those divisions healed. That is not achieved by one side dominating the other. All languages and cultures should be respected rather than being foisted on communities and used as a cultural weapon.
Our manifesto makes it absolutely clear that we won't sign up to any deal that diminishes Northern Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom. That means that, amongst other issues, we won't be agreeing to quotas in civil service recruitment policies, bilingual road signs or compulsory Irish language lessons in schools. If that's the price of a deal, then there will be no deal.
Irish language speakers are part of our society. We said last August that we would legislate for the Irish language but we wouldnt' legislate for anything that undermines our Britishness or weakens the Union.
Let us be very clear, there will not be a free standing or stand alone Irish Language Act. We made clear, we are prepared to be fair and balanced on language and culture but one will not be treated above others.
Some of the speculation about any deal is not based on reality. There is no question of anyone being required to speak Irish or having Irish imposed on them as part of their daily lives where they do not speak the language.
Our negotiating team is back in Stormont to work for a fair and balanced outcome.
Thanks again for getting in touch and please send another email if you want to receive more regular updates from the Party.'
Belfast Telegraph Digital