Belfast Telegraph

Derry poppy burning on bonfire 'a particular low' - DUP

By Jonathan Bell

The DUP has described the burning of a poppy on a nationalist bonfire in Londonderry as "a particular low".

A number of bonfires were set alight around the north west city over the weekend.

The fires are held traditionally to mark the death of the Virgin Mary and her assumption into heaven.

Foyle MLA Gary Middleton, said a poppy wreath was taken from a war memorial and placed on the bonfire in the Creggan area.

On another bonfire an effigy of a soldier was burnt, he claimed.

"No one would pretend there are not problems with bonfires on both sides of the community," Mr Middleton said, "but to remove a poppy wreath from the war memorial and then burn it represents a particular low.

"As elected representatives we have a responsibility to work with those who build bonfires to highlight the need to demonstrate respect within our community.

"The poppy of course is not a symbol belonging to the unionist community, but representing those from all backgrounds who served and it is this which has caused particular distress.

"It is right that this incident is highlighted and discussed publicly.

"There has been a hate crime prosecution in relation to a loyalist bonfire recently and the police must investigate this particular incident with a view to ensuring those responsible are brought before the courts."

Police are investigating the placing of flags and other symbols on the bonfires.

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan added: "Enquiries are continuing and where there is evidence of an offence, we will consult with the Public Prosecution Service with a view to prosecution."

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