Sinn Féin has reported the burning of posters of Deputy Lord Mayor Catherine Seeley on a Lurgan bonfire as a ‘hate crime’.
A massive pyre in the Mourneview area was plastered with election posters of the Sinn Féin Councillor and deputy lord mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council. Also on the bonfire in the south Lurgan estate were SDLP election posters, a tricolour and an Armagh GAA flag.
Upper Bann Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd confirmed to the ‘MAIL’ that incidents have been reported as hate crimes.
Mr O’Dowd said: “Numerous bonfires across the Lurgan, Craigavon and Portadown area have once again burnt Irish national flags, as well as stolen election posters of the Deputy Mayor, Catherine Seeley, and other elected representatives. This is totally wrong and unacceptable.
“The burning of people’s pictures or national flags, because of their ethnicity, background or political opinion constitutes a hate crime. We have reported these incidents to the PSNI as such,” he said and called for politicial leaders and the PSNI to show leadership. “I would call particularly on local unionist leaders to condemn these hate crimes. We also expect a full and proper investigation from the PSNI. ”
Aaron Dowey said: “The PUP in conjunction with Mid-Ulster ACT worked with those building the bonfire to ensure it was a family friendly event and from the feedback we have received they were very successful in doing so. Many of the issues raised from within our community were addressed making this year’s 11th night celebration amongst the most enjoyable and successful. We do believe those erecting bonfires need to show responsibility and that is why we will continue to talk to them along with Mid-Ulster ACT regarding any symbols which do appear.”