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DUP founder: Ulster-Scots 'is not a language'

Wallace Thompson, one of the founders of the DUP. Picture by Paul Faith, Press Association
Wallace Thompson, one of the founders of the DUP. Picture by Paul Faith, Press Association Wallace Thompson, one of the founders of the DUP. Picture by Paul Faith, Press Association

ULSTER-SCOTS is a dialect and should not be equated with Irish, a founding member of the DUP has said.

Wallace Thompson, from Ballymoney, Co Antrim, wrote on his Facebook page earlier this week: "I was born and reared in north Antrim and I'll probably be accused of heresy, but to me Ulster Scots is not a language".

"It's a dialect," he wrote. "A hamely tongue but not a language. I think it's nonsense to equate it with Irish which, no matter what some say, is a language."

Mr Thompson is a leading member of the evangelical Caleb Foundation and a former special adviser to DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds.

He later told the News Letter he did not believe legislation to protect either Irish or Ulster-Scots was needed.

"I would not want to see a significant amount of public money spent on Irish or Ulster-Scots," he said.

As talks to restore power-sharing continue over the weekend, the DUP remains at odds with Sinn Féin over the republican party's demands for a stand-alone Irish language act.

Mr Thompson's comments came as former DUP leader and ex-First Minister Peter Robinson said any Irish language legislation could also include Ulster-Scots.

"Who can complain if there are those who cherish the Irish language or who passionately support Ulster-Scots culture," he said this week.

"Who would find it unacceptable for arrangements to be put on a statutory basis to protect and support both? Both can be accommodated."