Following comments made by Gregory Campbell likening Celtic football supporters to IRA activists, SDLP East Derry MLA Gerry Mullan said:
“Mr Campbell is notorious for his outlandish comments aimed at stirring up the nationalist community, to the extent that it is now virtually impossible to take him seriously. He is rapidly becoming a contender for the ‘class clown’ of Northern Ireland politics.
“These latest comments, however, are simply so inaccurate, politically motivated, and sectarian that they cannot go unchallenged. To compare Celtic football fans, who are going out to Gibraltar to support their club with IRA members, who were prepared to kill and maim, is preposterous and Gregory is well aware of this.
“The simple fact is that Gregory revels in this type of controversy and in verbally attacking the nationalist community – something which he has now done on countless occasions without reprimand from his party. It’s a sad state of affairs when the DUP hierarchy continue to simply turn a blind eye to these outlandish statements. So much for a ‘Fresh Start.’
“During the Euros, supporters from the North and South were exemplary in demonstrating to the rest of Europe how far this island has moved on and they rightly received an award in Paris for it. That is the reality of how far we have come and Gregory Campbell is just trying to drag us back.”