UUP councillors walk out before Irish language presentation

Linda Ervine
Linda Ervine

Ulster Unionist councillors have staged a walkout ahead of a presentation on the Irish language by Linda Ervine at Down District Council.

Councillors Robert Burgess, Desmond Patterson and Walter Lyons left the council chambers on Monday night before Mrs Ervine could speak about the historical links between Protestants and Irish.

In a statement UUP Councillor Walter Lyons said: “For years the Irish Language has been used as a political weapon by some in Down District Council when instead it could be used as a means of reconciliation.

“Unfortunately the views of Unionists and others have been ignored in the implementation of Irish Language policy in Down Council.”

He said the group were delighted to meet with the wife of former PUP leader, Brian Ervine, before Monday night’s Council meeting “and agreed to meet again at the East Belfast Mission to learn of the work that she does, to hear of positive aspects of the Irish Language and to lend our support to her group”.

See tomorrow’s paper for more...