David Campbell: Edwin Poots will be finished as DUP leader if he rolls over on Irish language

A letter from David Campbell:

Monday, 14th June 2021, 7:19 am
Updated Monday, 14th June 2021, 7:22 am
Edwin Poots has no mandate to implement the language provisions in the New Decade New Approach deal, writes David Campbell because they are, he says, a breach of the generous language settlement in the 1998 Belfast Agreement
Edwin Poots has no mandate to implement the language provisions in the New Decade New Approach deal, writes David Campbell because they are, he says, a breach of the generous language settlement in the 1998 Belfast Agreement

Unionism will rally behind Edwin Poots if he stands up to Sinn Fein at this critical juncture, but if he rolls over on Irish language he will be terminally damaged from the outset of his leadership.

The language and cultural provisions of the Belfast Agreement were agreed and approved by referendum.

They formed a balanced and generous settlement, based on need and demand, and have been faithfully implemented and funded since devolution began.

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The provisions in the New Decade New Approach (NDNA) are a breach of the agreement and no unionist MLA has any mandate to implement them.

In my experience the public view the proposals for Ulster-Scots as equally objectionable as those for Irish and they cannot be allowed, unless there is a referendum that approves them.

Furthermore, the world has changed since NDNA.

The global pandemic has resulted in exceptional expenditure in most global economies, not least the United Kingdom’s.

Neither ordinary unionists or nationalists will comprehend or support the squandering of further millions on minority political vanity projects whilst our health service remains close to breaking point and patients are waiting years for routine surgical procedures.

The Belfast Agreement needs to be repaired by scrapping the Northern Ireland Protocol, not further breached by silly yet highly dangerous language proposals.

If devolution requires a time-out in order to restore the primacy of the agreement it might well be time well spent.

David Campbell Co Antrim

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