Foster plea to US in ‘planter’ row

Former first minister Arlene Foster has called on the Biden administration to distance itself from Congressman Richard Neal’s use of the term “planter” when referring to unionists.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 7:31 am

Mrs Foster described the remark as “just offensive and so outrageous” but was also “the sort of thing that is still prevalent in Irish-American politics”.

The ex-DUP leader said the comment demonstrated that many Irish-American politicians have “not moved on from the 1970s”.

She urged the British government to do more to counter such attitudes in North America.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Arlene Foster

“Our government needs to push back stronger and our embassy in Washington needs to certainly be more proactive about challenging the Irish-American output, which may as well be written by Sinn Fein.”

Mrs Foster continued: “The US administration should distance themselves from his remark but I won’t hold my breath.”

Congressman Neal was asked about his use of “planter” while on a visit to Londonderry yesterday.

Mr Neal said he was merely using an historic reference to the Ulster plantation during the 17th Century.

The Congressman said: “I also referenced the historical term of the gael, the gael and the planter because those are entirely accurate historic references.”

In response Mrs Foster added: “We were being referred to as planters and apparently this is ok because he referenced gaels as well!”

l See page 5