Belfast Telegraph

Lisburn man (52) set for court on charges of putting election posters on bonfire

Provocative: EU flag and republican placards on loyalist bonfire in Derry
Provocative: EU flag and republican placards on loyalist bonfire in Derry
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A Lisburn man is facing court over placing election materials on a bonfire.

The 52-year-old was charged with offences including criminal damage, and is due to appear at Lisburn Magistrates Court next month.

Burning images of politicians from Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Alliance Party have become a familiar sight on bonfires in some areas of Northern Ireland in recent years.

More examples were circulated on social media this year.

Sinn Fein MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew posted an image of a large bonfire with an Irish tricolour at the top and several posters of her party colleagues.

She wrote: "In the words of the oul' saying, 'they're more to be pitied than despised'. I hope the people who think that this is 'celebrating their culture' get a wake-up call soon, as they will never be able to make a positive contribution to any society." In the Sandy Row area of Belfast large crowds also gathered to watch a bonfire set alight with Irish tricolours, posters of Sinn Fein politicians as well as Celtic and Palestine flags.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood made light of the situation yesterday, posting an image showing his poster on a bonfire pile in Belfast.

"A few fans in Belvoir," he said on Twitter.

In Londonderry, election posters of a serving DUP councillor were burnt on a bonfire.

David Ramsey is a representative of the Waterside area on Derry City and Strabane District Council.

His poster was placed on a bonfire in the Newbuildings area, an area he represents, along with Irish tricolours and Starry Plough flags.

The bonfire also contained boards painted with the messages "#Lundy", "#Hatewatch" and "No intimidation, no surrender".

The DUP did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

This week, Ulster Unionist MLA Robbie Butler, a former firefighter, urged Eleventh Night revellers to make 2019 a year with "zero flags, zero posters, zero effigies, zero attacks on emergency services".

He added the celebrations should be safe and enjoyable.

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