Stevenson’s intervention is timely: TUV leader Allister

TUV Leader Jim Allister at Stormont.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
TUV Leader Jim Allister at Stormont. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

TUV leader Jim Allister has described an article by Orange Order Grand Master Edward Stevenson, published in yesterday morning’s News Letter, as “a timely intervention against a climb-down on the Irish language”.

Mr Allister has consistently expressed his opposition to any form of Irish language act. Last week, his party produced a pamphlet entitled ‘Bursting the Myth’ for circulation on social media, which urged people to write to DUP leader Arlene Foster to express their opposition.

He said Orange Order Grand Master Edward Stevenson “puts his finger on the heart of the issue”.

The North Antrim MLA, in a statement issued yesterday afternoon, said: “This morning’s article by Edward Stevenson is a timely intervention against a climb-down on the Irish language.

“He puts his finger on the heart of the issue when he writes: ‘Any legislation, no matter what it’s called or how its packaged, which underpins the Irish language in a legal framework will have massive implications for local government, the courts, the civil service, schools and everyday life in Northern Ireland’.”

Mr Allister added: “This is the latest sign that unionists are aware of the dangers posed by the demands of republicans and the far-reaching ramifications which they will have for life in Northern Ireland.

“Far from being about equality, the demands for Irish language legislation are about stripping Northern Ireland of its Britishness and making the public sector and courts cold houses for Protestants.”

Last week Mr Allister, in a letter to this newspaper, called upon unionists to unite on the issue.

In his statement, the TUV leader repeated that call, saying: “Unionists of all shades need to heed the Grand Master’s warning and immediately rule out giving in to eepublican demands for legislation which will result in discrimination against one section of the community.”