Good Friday Agreement Values and Principles

Part of Private Members' Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 9:00 pm on 23rd January 2017.

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Photo of Doug Beattie Doug Beattie UUP 9:00 pm, 23rd January 2017

No, I will not. Sorry.

We want to work with willing partners. We want to show respect to all who live in Northern Ireland and their identity, culture and traditions. Many people raise their eyes when I say that I am Irish. I am Irish. If it is comfortable for you, prefix that with "Northern" if you want. I am also a proud Ulsterman, and I am a fiercely proud Brit. However, I am Irish. The Belfast Agreement allows me to say that. It allows the people to decide that Northern Ireland will remain part of the United Kingdom.

The power is with the people, not with this Chamber. Let us be clear: my identity is represented by the Union flag, 'God Save the Queen', the Twelfth of July, Ulster Scots and the monarchy; it is also represented by the shamrock, St Patrick's Day, the GAA, Irish dancing and the Irish language. They are all part of me.

Before I run the length of myself, I have to say to everybody that it is all about the language that we use and how we have to be careful of it. People would be far happier embracing, talking or having a conversation about the Irish language if we did not have —