Robbie Butler MLA ‘considers’ Jeffrey Donaldson offer to probe claims of DUP ridicule

Robbie Butler said he was ridiculed by DUP members for attending the recent papal visit to Dublin
Robbie Butler said he was ridiculed by DUP members for attending the recent papal visit to Dublin

An Ulster Unionist MLA who claimed to have been ridiculed by DUP figures for attending the papal visit to Dublin has said he will “consider” a DUP MP’s offer to get to the bottom of the allegations.

UUP MLA Robbie Butler told the Irish News a DUP MLA had said he should not have accepted an invite to the pope’s visit in Dublin, and had labelled the pope the “antichrist”.

Mr Butler also said a second DUP MLA had made light of his attendance at the papal visit by blessing himself as he passed by.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said yesterday, in an interview with the BBC, that would like to get to the bottom of the claims.

Sir Jeffrey said he knew Mr Butler well and had “a high regard for him”, adding that he took Mr Butler at his word that the incident did indeed take place.

Sir Jeffrey told BBC Radio Ulster that he would be happy to speak to Mr Butler about the claims.

“I want to get the details of what was said,” Mr Donaldson told the broadcaster.

Speaking to the News Letter yesterday, Mr Butler said he appreciated Mr Donaldson’s “kind words” and said he would consider taking him up on the offer.

“Something I don’t like is having a go at other unionists,” he said. “I won’t be naming them (the DUP MLAs involved) because that is not what my politics is about.

“Sir Jeffrey is someone that I certainly admire and I am not surprised that he is concerned by what has happened.”

Mr Butler added: “I appreciate his kind words about my character and he has kept the door open so it is something I will consider in the future.”