‘McGuinness coffin’ on bonfire branded sickening | UTV


A call has been made for unionist leaders to condemn those who put a coffin bearing the image of the late former deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness on an Eleventh Night bonfire.

The black coffin appeared on a bonfire off the Castlereagh Road in east Belfast on Tuesday.

Sinn Féin’s national chairman Declan Kearney branded the display a “particularly sickening manifestation of hate”.

He added: “This is the action of hatemongers intent on indoctrinating bigotry and perpetuating sectarian divisions in our society.

“Their behaviour stands in stark contrast to the work that Martin McGuinness did to build reconciliation and reach out the hand of friendship.

“It is also grossly insulting to the McGuinness family which still mourns the loss of a much loved father, brother and grandfather.”

Mr McGuinness’ son Emmett tweeted to say “the annual display of hate must end”, echoing the words of Sinn Féin’s Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill.

Meanwhile, Mr Kearney further stated: “It is simply unacceptable that unionist political parties still refuse to condemn this kind of hate crime.”

He is now calling for unionist leaders to disassociate themselves and their parties from such displays.

Concerns have also been raised over flags and politicians’ election posters appearing on bonfires, while a racist slur against Celtic footballer Scott Sinclair has also featured on a bonfire in east Belfast.

Homes and businesses close to some of the towering structures have had to be boarded up as a precaution, ahead of the bonfires being lit late on Tuesday night ahead of the Twelfth.

Earlier, DUP leader Arlene Foster issued a statement ahead of the Twelfth demonstrations.

In it, she addressed the issue of bonfires and said they had “long been part of the unionist culture”.

She added: “Those who have waged a campaign of demonisation against such celebrations should dial down the rhetoric.

“To those who build bonfires, I urge them to not play into the hands of those who want to demonise the culture.

“They should be respectful of their neighbours. Endangering property and lives should not be a concern for residents on the eleventh night. These should be events that all the family can enjoy.

“We will work constructively with communities to achieve this.”


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