Northern Ireland

DUP MP Jim Shannon's Ulster-Scots maiden speech

It's not unparliamentary language, but one maiden speech in the Commons contained a few words never heard before in its long history.

New DUP MP for Strangford Jim Shannon took the opportunity to say a few words in Ulster-Scots.

"I did get permission to do this so I hope the members will bear with me," he said.

"Thaur is monies a guid thang at A cud sae aboot tha fowk o mi Baille-Wick bot yince an firmaist A coont it a muckle oaner tae spake oot oan thair ahauf in tha Hoose O Commons.

"Tha Strengfird fowk ir tha sat o tha yirth, an in thenkin thaim fer thair support A wud promis thaim at A'll wrocht an dae fer thaim aa at A caun."

Translation

Mr Shannon, who says he is not a fluent speaker of Ulster-Scots but is a keen enthusiast, provided a translation for his fellow MPs.

"Having had the opportunity to acknowledge and express my Ulster Scots roots and thanking the Speaker for his tolerance, I'll say it so you can all understand me," he said.

"There are many good things that I could say about the people of my constituency, but first of all I count it a great honour to speak on their behalf in the House of Commons.

"It is a privilege to represent the constituency in which I have lived and worked all my life.

"The Strangford people are the salt of the earth and in thanking them for their support I would also assure them that I shall work and do for them the best I can."

Mr Shannon also paid tribute to Iris Robinson, his predecessor as Strangford MP, whom he said was "well-known for her years as a conscientious worker".

He said his priority would be to help reduce unemployment in Northern Ireland.

Mr Shannon was one of three Northern Ireland MPs giving their maiden speeches on Tuesday.

East Belfast Alliance MP Naomi Long urged the government to exercise caution when it came to making cuts in Northern Ireland, while South Down SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie focussed on the expansion of the tourism industry and investment in renewable energy as a route to economic recovery.

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