Veteran DUP man Sammy Wilson has launched a furious broadside against Sinn Fein following the republican party’s rejection of his party’s proposal to break the devolution deadlock.
Mr Wilson, MP for East Antrim, had just a week earlier said that the talks process with Sinn Fein was a “sham”, due to the “unrealistic” demands on issues such as the Irish language.
As such, he said the time to enact direct rule had come.
In dismissing the DUP’s suggestion, Michelle O’Neill said it did not represent “a new offer,” and that Arlene Foster had been “making an offer which the DUP knew would be rejected”.
Mr Wilson, on Friday morning, issued a hard-hitting statement in which he said the speed with which Sinn Fein rejected Mrs Foster’s offer shows “Adams, O’Neill and their party have no interest in restoring the Northern Ireland Assembly”.
“Sinn Fein are telling the people of Northern Ireland that it is their way or no way,” he said – adding that the issue went beyond Irish language.
“On top of this they want their way on abortion the definition of marriage, the persecution of police and Army personnel and the veto on Arlene Foster, the leader of the biggest party by far in NI serving as first minister.
“They are not a serious party they are a bunch of bullying tyrants who clearly don’t understand the meaning of democratic discourse...
“We now have the spectacle of a party with seven MPs who don’t go to their work and 27 MLAs who won’t go to their work – why on earth would anyone vote for such a bunch of malingerers!”
Separately, when speaking to the News Letter, UUP peer Lord Empey had also likened the Sinn Fein leadership’s actions to bullying.
In response, Sinn Fein said it “will take no lectures from Sammy Wilson”.
It added: “It is unfortunate that the UUP are now letting themselves be used as mudguards for the DUP’s denial of rights and entitlements on language, marriage and access to coroner’s courts which citizens across these islands enjoy.”