Outrage as election posters burned at 'family-friendly' bonfire
The Eleventh Night bonfires in Northern Ireland have caused outrage as election posters and flags were set on fire.
Pictures from a bonfire in Portadown show a bonfire topped with Ireland flags and messages such as “IRA” and “1916” being set alight.
The bonfire also carried election posters belonging to Sinn Féin politicians Catherine Seeley and John O’Dowd, who was Minister for Education in the North until 2016.
Ms Seeley took to Twitter to say that she and Mr O’Dowd were reporting “the blatant hate crime”.
Mr O’Dowd told Independent.ie: “The event as I understand was billed as a children’s fun day.
“It is totally unacceptable that these stolen posters appeared on the bonfire, especially in the context of an event which was supposed to be a children’s fun day, what message does the burning of images of elected representatives send out to children?”
He added that election materials should be “treated with respect”, regardless of what political party they belong to.
“The posters burnt were stolen during the election campaign and were reported as such. This incident and the burning of posters and flags at the main bonfire later in the evening have been reported to the Police as theft and a hate crime,” he said.
The Eleventh Night bonfires mark the annual July 12 celebrations in Northern Ireland.
The celebration includes parades and events with the traditional Eleventh Night bonfires lit across the country.
These are images from a " Children's Fun Day & Bonfire" in Portadown. What messages does this give to young minds? pic.twitter.com/CdO9yZ8o8K— John O' Dowd (@JohnODowdSF) July 10, 2016
Who could call this culture? pic.twitter.com/KzsrOqxXK5— Louise O'ReillyTD (@loreillysf) July 11, 2016