DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has welcomed Colum Eastwood’s commitment to building a shared homeplace as a start but urged Mr Eastwood to put his words into action and demonstrate maturity by getting his party to participate in Northern Ireland Centenary events.
Commenting Mr Campbell said,
"As someone who grew up in Londonderry at a time when people who shared my politics left their homeplace by the many thousands I am very much in favour of building a city and country where everyone can feel at home. Many people however, hear Mr Eastwood’s words and don’t see a man with actions to back up his motherhood and apple-pie statements.
Colum Eastwood talks about wanting a "shared homeplace" within a "new Ireland" yet when the Northern Ireland Office published their branding for Northern Ireland’s Centenary his response was the antithesis of building a shared future. I acknowledge his regret at a ‘lack of nuance’ in that tweet but he has not stepped away from his central response to that issue.
That branding was a practical demonstration of our shared homeplace and highlighted that our common story in Northern Ireland is shaped by people from all backgrounds. The SDLP’s reaction to marking the Centenary shows little desire to share in what is a significant milestone, regardless of your constitutional preferences.
A desire to share cannot come with strings attached. It cannot come only as some 'reward' for taking Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom. It will always be easy to share with those whom you already agree. The challenge is to share with those whom you may fundamentally disagree with.
The most recent evidence of an online exchange between Mr Eastwood, a Party Leader, and a senior Alliance MLA referring in unsavoury terms to a senior DUP colleague show the lack of substance behind the SDLP leader's words."