Campbell clashes with Culture Minister over Irish language

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DUP MLA Gregory Campbell has had another row with Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín over the Irish language with the East Londonderry representative accusing Sinn Féin of politicising it.

Mr Campbell asked Ms Ní Chuilín: “Does she agree with me that the pursuit of any language can often be thwarted and stunted whenever people see the politicisation of that language, such as has been done by her colleagues in Sinn Féin inside and outside the Chamber on numerous occasions?”

She replied: “The Members really stretches it beyond belief. The only people that I have ever heard politicising a language, stretching a language and causing offence to people who use that language are you and your party colleagues, and some others.

“If I thought, for one minute, that the Member was genuine about trying to find out what we can do as a community to work with people who have or want to have Irish as their first language; what we can do as a community not to assault and cause offence to children who are learning Irish and who are educated through the medium of Irish language; and what we can do as a community to try to get over the petty, bigoted sectarianism that they have perpetuated...”

There then followed an interruption by Mr Campbell and an ill-humoured back-and-forth exchange.

Mr Campbell: “I thought that you could not answer the question.”

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Beggs): “Order.”

Ms Ní Chuilín: ” the House against a language that belongs to everyone...”

Mr Campbell: “From somebody who said that she does not answer questions.”

Ms Ní Chuilín: “If the Member has any questions, I would like to hear what they are.”

Mr Campbell: “Does not avoid questions.”

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Beggs): “Order.”

Mr Campbell: “She is avoiding that one.”