“Rein Campbell in” - McGuinness warns DUP

Martin McGuinness.

Martin McGuinness.

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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has called for Gregory Campbell to be sanctioned over his “appalling” behaviour at the DUP conference.

In a scorching attack launched on Monday evening, Mr McGuinness also lashed out at the DUP as a party, stating that there were people on their benches “filled with hatred for the Irish language, all things Irish” and “people who are Islamaphobic”.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd November 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.'2014 DUP Conference at the La Mon House Hotel.'Gregory Campbell MP MLA holds a yogurt during his speech

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 22nd November 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.'2014 DUP Conference at the La Mon House Hotel.'Gregory Campbell MP MLA holds a yogurt during his speech

“And the level of homophobia within that party is also of huge concern,” he warned.

He was speaking about episodes at the DUP conference during which Mr Campbell again made reference to his recent ‘curry my yoghurt’ comments regarding the Irish language at Stormont, which sparked outrage among nationalists and centrist politicians.

Mr McGuinness said last night: “I was disappointed at the comments made by Gregory Campbell when he set out to demean the Irish language and all of those who love the language. This included the thousands of school children who attend gaelscoileanna.

“I was then absolutely appalled to hear him repeat those remarks at the DUP party conference.

“I was further disappointed that the leadership of the party was not prepared to rebuke or reprimand him.

“This is not a time for making excuses. It is a time for leadership and taking action to ensure this never happens again.

“It sends a negative message right to the heart of the talks we are engaged in to find a resolution to the outstanding issues.

“Under no circumstances can this be passed off as comedy; there was absolutely nothing funny about it.

“It was disgraceful and shameful that any elected politician can engage in the baiting of a large section of the community.”

He added: “There are people on the DUP benches who are filled with hatred for the Irish language, people who have hatred for all things Irish, people who are Islamaphobic, and the level of homophobia within that party is also of huge concern.

“A a time when Peter Robinson and myself are working to implement strategies for building an integrated community, it is hugely disappointing to hear this language used.”