Northern Ireland Election 2017

NI Assembly election: Parties get snappy while voters are hounded

Snapping back at crocodile attack

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Media captionArlene Foster says she won't appease the Sinn Féin "crocodile" over an Irish language act

Reptile references were the theme for Monday's assembly election campaigning as the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin took bites at each other in an Irish language wrangle.

DUP leader Arlene Foster told party members at an event in Lurgan in County Armagh that she would not "capitulate" to demands from republicans for legislation to give official status to the Irish language.

She compared Sinn Fein with a "crocodile", suggesting that "it will keep coming back for more" if its hunger for an Irish language act was to be satisfied.

But Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams had a snappy answer to that...

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Media captionGerry Adams dismisses Arlene Foster's "feed a crocodile" remark

The exchange prompted a flurry of activity on social media, with alligator and crocodile-themed memes popping up left, right and centre.

One Sinn Féin activist imagined his party leader as Crocodile Dundee... or should that be Crocodile Dundalk for the Louth TD?

Image copyright Caolán McGinley

Going ga-ga over Gaeilge

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Naomi Long says the Alliance Party will make its election pitch in several languages

The row over the Irish language wasn't confined to just the big two.

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long came in for minor criticism after she uploaded an election poster in Irish on to her Facebook page, as the Belfast Telegraph reported.

The Alliance Party has been using the slogan "On March 2 vote Alliance - #ChangeForGood", which it translated to "Ar 2ú Marta votáil Alliance - #ArthrúGoDeo".

But Mrs Long defended her stance, saying it was a move for diversity, and explained that her party will be posting election material in several languages before the polls open in less than four weeks' time.

And after Arlene Foster suggested there was a more pressing need for a Polish language act than an Irish one, Alliance's Paula Bradshaw hit back with this tweet...

Image copyright Twitter

Profiting from a hard sell?

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption People Before Profit hopes to capitalise on its success in last year's assembly election

People Before Profit (PBP) is aiming to win votes from working class Protestants who may be disillusioned by the "antics" of the DUP, Eamonn McCann has said.

Selling to unionists and loyalists an all-Ireland party that ultimately wants to see the island reunited sounds like a tricky task, but Mr McCann said he senses that there is a market there for his anti-austerity "movement".

Speaking at a party event in Belfast, he said: "We have a focus on all those working class Protestant people who have been voting for the DUP and we believe must be embarrassed by the antics of the DUP in recent times."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Eamonn McCann wants People Before Profit to take votes off the DUP in working-class areas

And the veteran civil rights campaigner denied that he was washing his hands of the consequences of Brexit after he said his adamantly anti-EU party will not bear any responsibility if there is a return of customs checks along the Irish border after the UK withdrawal from the union.

Mr McCann, who pressed for a Leave vote in last summer's EU referendum, said: "There's something embarrassing and trivialising about the number of parties which are saying: 'Please, Mrs May, represent the north.'

"We should speak for ourselves - people power should be brought into this to show both the Brexiteers and the European Commission that ordinary people can decide their own future."


Hounding the voters

Image copyright John Boyle
Image caption Barking or perhaps even biting awaits those on the campaign trail in the north-west

Canvassers in Foyle can't say they weren't warned.

With elections of one sort or another having taken place in each of the past four years, one voter in the constituency has clearly had more than enough knocking on his door.

Spotted on the campaign trail by a Social Democratic and Labour Party activist, this poster taped to a house makes it clear that there'll be no friendly welcome.

We're sure anyone chasing a vote will have the good sense to walk on quickly before that boxer bites.


Electing the 'emojits'

With the election campaign already promising to be a "brutal" one, we're going to need some light relief to get through these next few weeks.

Thankfully, those sharp satirists over at the Ulster Fry are on hand to deliver a gentle poke of fun in the direction of Stormont's prospective politicians.

From the PSNI Land Rover incident involving Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly to SDLP leader Colum Eastwood's slightly unusual white-patched beard, the folks at the Fry haven't missed a trick with their excellent "election emojits"...

Image copyright Ulster Fry

BBC News NI's Campaign Catch-up will keep you across the Northern Ireland Assembly election trail with a daily dose of the main stories, the minor ones and the lighter moments in the run up to polling day on Thursday 2 March.

Hear more on BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster at 07:40 GMT and on BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra at 17:40 GMT each weekday.