ATW contributor and all round good egg Seimi sent this to me this morning but I am only able to post it now!
“Good Evening and welcome to this special edition of Political Match of the Day, which comes to you this week from Stormont. We have a bit of a Derby match for you today, featuring two old rivals, Nationalists versus Unionists. The political football today – that old favourite, the Irish language. We go straight to the pitchside, where the whistle has just blown.
“Good morning, Gary, and welcome. As you say, the whistle has just gone, and the debate on the Irish language has just started. This is a debate on a proposed strategy for the Irish language. I should point out that this is a joint proposed strategy for the Irish language and Ulster Scots, brought forward by the Sinn Féin Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage, Caral Ní Chuilín. This bilingual – some might even say trilingual, given that English is also in use – approach has caused surprising divisions amongst the supporters of both sides. Some see it as a fair and balanced approach, which respects both sides and paves the way for better tolerance and understanding. Others see it as not enough, considering that the Irish Language Act, as promised in the St. Andrew’s Agreement, is the only formation they should be going with. And yet others believe that – oh wait! Just on the subject of what this third group want, here comes one of its stalwarts, Gregory Campbell. Gregory, once Culture minister himself, will surely support this proposal, which will see positive benefits for both the Irish speaking community and the smaller, if equally proud, Ulster Scots community… He steps up to the podium and prepares to take his shot…
Oh my word! Rather than take the shot that would have gained his side a fair amount of praise across the field, he has instead decided to play the Childish Card, mangling the phrase, “Go raibh maith agat, a Cheann Comhairle,” or “Thank you, Mister Speaker,” to “Curry my yoghurt, can coca coalyer!” This move is met with laughter from his own team, and complete silence from the opposing side. Here comes Ní Chuilín…
And it appears that Campbell has scored an own goal here, as the Minister parries his shot with a, “If it’s anything to go by what you just did, we don’t need a strategy for pure ignorance,” followed by a deft refusal to answer his question, saying that Mr Campbell’s behaviour is not “befitting a member of the assembly”, and finished off with an official complaint to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s speaker’s office. What drama!
Mr. Campbell’s subsequent refusal to apologise for his comments ensures that this game is by no means over. These two sides have been at it for years. Campbell used a very similar phrase back in 2007; Sammy Wilson, player/streaker for the DUP said, ““Irish is a leprechaun language,” back in 1987, and David McNarry, then a member of team Ulster Unionist, now playing for the Independents, famously said, “I must say that I am heartily sickened to hear a Minister of this institution speaking in Irish.” The list goes on and on, from the Statutes of Kilkenny in 1366 right up to the present day.
All this means that the political football that is the Irish language will continue to be kicked around at Stormont for a long time to come. They think it’s all over…no they don’t.”
“DUP MP Gregory Campbell has been barred from addressing the Northern Ireland Assembly for a day for failing to apologise for an Irish language parody.
The Speaker said his conduct fell “well short of standards expected from MLAs”. However, as Mr Campbell is currently at Westminster, the ruling has limited impact.” Which is much the same as being banned from a league match, but able to play in a cup match.