McDonnell “they don’t want a taig about the place. I’m sorry, it’s as brutal as that.” (updated with audio)

Great scoop from the North Belfast News who have recorded comments from the SDLP leader, Alasdair McDonnell who was speaking at the opening of an office in Glengormley, North Belfast.

The paper reports the SDLP making comments about the DUP and their attitudes to Nationalists where he said;

The DUP don’t want partnership – they don’t want a taig about the place. I’m sorry, it’s as brutal as that.

I’m not divisive, I don’t like to be like that but they, at times, they’ve made it very clear to us they don’t support the Good Friday Agreement, they don’t support a lot of the changes that have taken place.

He also argued that Sinn Fein are incapable of telling the truth. [Quotes added:]

“Sinn Fein can’t tell the truth. They just can’t tell the truth, and they can tell us whatever they like.

“And you’ve examples like Gerry Adams was never in the IRA and you’ve examples like Martin McGuinness saying this, that and the other thing. They’re not telling the truth.

“We fully support the chief constable when he discussed publicly in a press conference the murder of Kevin McGuigan.

“We know who killed Kevin McGuigan. And we know there are people out there associated with, connected with or involved in some way – that basically were involved in helping and supporting the murder of Kevin McGuigan.”

In an interview with the BBC on Friday, Dr McDonnell said: “Most of the messages I’m getting are congratulatory messages telling me it was time somebody told the truth.
“And quite frankly I would make [the comments] all over again because they have to be said.
“We’ve reached a stage after a couple of weeks of talks that it’s time to call it as it is, to be honest and tell the truth, and I called it as I saw it.”

A few things here, will this damage the party? My initial instinct is that it will not, most of the commentariat will chew over it but out in the party’s heartland most of their voters will have thought this anyway. Where McDonnell will get hammered on is his clumsy (to say the least) use of language.


David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs