Belfast Telegraph

Prison officer’s son left ‘absolutely sickened’ by Derry bonfire slur

The controversial bonfire in the Bogside in Derry
The controversial bonfire in the Bogside in Derry
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

The son of murdered prison officer David Black says he's "absolutely sickened" after a placard bearing the name of his father was placed on top of a republican bonfire in Londonderry's Bogside.

Posting on Twitter, Kyle Black said: "My dad, along with the other brave men named, served their community with dignity and respect.

"This in complete contrast to those responsible for this. Absolutely sickened."

The names of Ronan Kerr, Adrian Ismay and Stephen Carroll were also placed on the bonfire, due to be lit last night, along with poppy wreaths that were reported stolen from a cenotaph.

DUP councillor Graham Warke posted a video on social media condemning the bonfire, saying he was "sickened and disgusted".

He said: "These three poppy wreaths were laid on July 1 at a war cenotaph. They represent everyone in this city who fought in World War One.

"On July 3 they were stolen. Now we have them sitting on a bonfire ready to get burnt tonight and I call on anyone with influence to get them removed immediately."

Mr Warke said the same thing had happened last year and that poppy wreaths had ended up as ashes on the Bogside bonfire.

He added. "I have seen the names of murdered PSNI officers and prison officers. I am totally disgusted.

"The poppies is bad enough, but having the names of murdered police officers on that bonfire is terrible.

"To see poppy wreaths going up in smoke is awful and to see the names of murdered prison officers and police officers on it is a total disgrace. It is just pure hatred."

Mr Warke said last night that there were efforts from community youth workers at the scene to get the poppy wreaths removed and added the PSNI had been made aware of the situation.

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie, a former soldier, said: "What I am witnessing is an absolute disgrace, that they are burning these things.

"It is clearly wrong, these people know its wrong, but they are doing it anyway. Someone from the community should intervene." He added: "For me the poppy wreath is about remembrance and reflection. It is remembering those who have lost their lives and for anybody to steal that with the intention of burning it on a bonfire is beyond belief.

"It is absolutely disgusting and disgraceful.

"To add hurt by having the names of victims of terrorism when it is burned?

"The mind boggles how stupid these people are and what they think they are going to achieve by doing this."

Sinn Fein councillor Patricia Logue, who represents The Moor area, condemned the "display of hate".

She said: "There were several hate fires that took place in this city over July and August but nothing justifies what occurred in Meenan Square and those responsible for putting poppy wreaths, flags and other hate messages on the bonfire are intent only on causing extreme offence and damaging community relations.

"This is nothing but a display of hate and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with republicanism.

"The people of the Bogside do not want this bonfire and they certainly do not want displays of hate designed to cause distress and antagonism to their neighbours in this city."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph