Coulter started off his article by claiming that 'Ulster-Scots is effectively a broad north Antrim accent' but at that point he had not really got into his stride as regards gratuitous offence.
However it did not take him long and his next blow was to refer to me as 'Scottie Nelly'. In fact he obviously enjoyed this phrase so so much that he used it three times in the article. Now you will imediately grasp from this that John is an incisive and analytical journalist ... or maybe NOT! Such silly name calling is utterly pathetic and childish. It is what you might come across with small children in a school playground. It is not what you expect from a professional journalist, indeed from any sort of journalist, but then, this is John Coulter.
According to Coulter: 'Ulster-Scots is nothing more than a rural Ballymena accent. I grew up in north Antrim and spoke with this rural Ulster-Scots accent for many years, cured only by expensive elocution and a few years stint at BBC Radio Ulster.' Now Ulster-Scots has a distinctive vocabulary and its own grammar, so clearly John is unable to distinguish between accent, vocabulary and grammar.
Instead John Coulter encourages unionists to 'reclaim the Gaelic tongue for Protestantism' and this is not the first time he has expressed this view. He even argues that 'Unionists were too red-faced to learn Irish because of the Kincora scandal in the 1980s. ... Unfortunately, in the Protestant community, the Irish language became falsely associated with child abuse because of Kincora.' Clearly John has 'a wee fondness' for fiction!
Perhaps a more significant development in the early 1980s was the emergence of a new Irish language strategy by Sinn Fein as part of their process of broadening the battlefront. That was the time when one Sinn Fein publication stated that every word spoken in Irish was 'another bullet in the freedom struggle.' I think such things may well help to explain Protestant alienation from the Irish language. But John forgot about that!
Now it is easy to dismiss John Coulter as, to use a good Ulster word, 'an eejit' (and that is not name-calling - that is a description), but the most alarming thing about him is that he is actually the HND Broadcast Journalism Coordinator at the Belfast Metropolitan College, as well as a journalist in the Irish Daily Star. Indeed the BMC website reports one of his courses, in which students work with Radio Feile in West Belfast. This is a radio project of Feile an Phobail, the West Belfast Festival, and the website carries a commendation of John Coulter's course by Danny Morrison, chairperson of Feile an Phobail. Danny, you may remember was the person who said that republicans would 'win the war' and 'take power in Ireland' 'with a ballot paper in one hand and an armalite in this hand'.
So there you have it. John Coulter's knowledge of things relating to the Irish language is just as poor as his knowledge of the Ulster-Scots language. As I said to Terry, I would also say to John, Ach ye wudnae hae a gleed o wut, John, wud ye?