BBC report misrepresents Foster crocodile jibe against Sinn Fein

A still from Twitter video posted by Sinn Feins Eoin McShane, showing members dressed as crocodiles.
A still from Twitter video posted by Sinn Feins Eoin McShane, showing members dressed as crocodiles.

A BBC report has been criticised for claiming that Arlene Foster had likened people who promote the Irish language to crocodiles.

The report appeared on its Northern Ireland site on Sunday, and focused on a loyalist figure’s complaint that there are too many unionist parties.

DUP leader Arlene Foster

DUP leader Arlene Foster

Headlined “Jim Wilson says there are ‘too many’ unionist parties”, it described the run-up to last week’s poll as having been “a bitter election campaign”, during which DUP leader Mrs Foster had “compared Irish language activists to hungry crocodiles”.

In an online message, satirist and commentator Newton Emerson described the BBC’s description of her remarks as an “amazing misrepresentation”.

The BBC report was in reference to a speech Mrs Foster gave last month, in which she criticised Sinn Fein’s demands for an Irish language act.

What she actually said during that speech was: “If we have an Irish language act, maybe we should have a Polish language act as well, because there are more people in Northern Ireland that speak Polish than speak Irish.

“This characterisation that we should have given something to Sinn Fein to keep them appeased is not the way I do business.

“If you feed a crocodile they’re going to keep coming back and looking for more.”

Sinn Fein have apparently turned the jibe into something of a badge of pride, with some supporters donning crocodile costumes in the run-up to polling day.