Belfast Telegraph

DUP's Arlene Foster condemns Martin McGuinness effigy on bonfire: 'It is wrong and shouldn't have happened'

By Claire Williamson

DUP leader Arlene Foster has condemned the placing of a coffin bearing the picture of the late Martin McGuinness on an Eleventh night bonfire in Belfast.

A black coffin with the face of the late Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister and the slogan 'F*** the IRA' was placed on the bonfire at the Castlereagh Road in east Belfast.

Earlier that day, the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA had issued a warning urging those building bonfires not to "play into the hands" of critics who want to demonise their culture.

Speaking to the Impartial Reporter on the Twelfth in Fermanagh Mrs Foster said: "I do condemn that because it is not the way in which we celebrate our culture.

"It is wrong and it shouldn't have happened.

"In Fermanagh we don't have any bonfires, it is unfortunate when things like this happen".

She added: "It is about enjoying ourselves and it's standing up for our faith and heritage."

The PSNI said it was investigating complaints about "distasteful" materials placed on some bonfires.

Sinn Fein chairman Declan Kearney previously slammed the display as "grossly insulting".

He said: "This display is a particularly sickening manifestation of the hate we have witnessed across the North over recent days, including some of the most vile sectarian and racist abuse.

"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."

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