Belfast Telegraph

I was raised not to hate, says Martin McGuinness's son after effigy of late father appears on bonfire

By Jonathan Bell

The son of the late Martin McGuinness has said he is thankful he was brought up not to hate after an effigy of the former deputy First Minister was put on a Belfast bonfire.

A black coffin adorned with the face of the late Sinn Fein deputy first minister Martin McGuinness was placed on a bonfire off the Castlereagh Road in east Belfast, sparking a police probe.

Read more: Black coffin bearing Martin McGuinness's face placed on Northern Ireland bonfire

In response, Emmett McGuinness said it was time for the "annual display of hate to end", echoing the earlier comments of Sinn Fein leader Michelle O'Neill.

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Emmett McGuinness

"I  am very thankful that I was raised by parent's never to hate anyone or anything," he tweeted.

Sinn Fein chairman Declan Kearney called on unionist political leaders to condemn the "hatemongers" responsible for the effigy.

"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," the South Antrim MLA said.

"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."

Calling on unionist leaders to condemn the display, he added: "It is simply unacceptable that unionist political parties still refuse to condemn this kind of hate crime.

This is the action of hatemongers intent on indoctrinating bigotry and perpetuating sectarian divisions

"Rather than supporting these so-called celebrations and, in some cases, posing for photos as they light the bonfires, it is long past time that political unionism showed some leadership and called for an immediate end to these sickening displays.

"I am directly challenging the leaders of all unionists parties to immediately disassociate themselves and their parties from this and other examples of sectarian hate crime."

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