Papal effigy on top of city bonfire

Marie Louise McCrory

AN EFFIGY of a Pope like figure, a papal flag, Irish tricolours and Palestinian flags - it was a traditional Eleventh Night bonfire last night.

While some of the hundreds of bonfires across the north appeared to have been made up of debris pushed together, others had been built into tall organised tower structures, with at least one claiming to have reached 120ft high.

In east Belfast, a new, small bonfire site was created at Cluan Place near the interface with the nationalist Short Strand area

Two young children could be seen yesterday on top of the structure, made up of palettes, and other debris including a door and a tree trunk, hanging up Irish Tricolour bunting.

A number of flags had also been posed on top of the bonfire, including a yellow and white Papal flag, a Palestinian flag and a number of Tricolours.

Elsewhere, a bonfire in Whitehead, Co Antrim included a number of messages for politicians and the Parades Commission.

At the bottom of the structure, which had a number of Union flags posed on it, one message board described First Minister Peter Robinson as "Marty's puppet", while another message read: "Alliance Party shove your shared future".

Another message referred to "Parades Commission vermin".

In Newtownabbey, a bonfire in New Mossley was yesterday claimed to have risen to 120 ft high or 178 palettes, while an-other bonfire in the Silver-stream area of north Belfast was made up almost entirely of tyres.

In Erinvale, off the Finaghy Road in south Belfast, a Union flag displayed on the bonfire, had the phrase 'KAT' (Kill All Taigs) written across it.

In Sandy Row near Belfast city centre, a Cliftonville football shirt had been attached to the bonfire which also had a mannequin posed on top dressed in Papal-style clothing.

Meanwhile, in west Belfast, the towering Lanark Way bonfire appeared ready to be lit.

It came a day after a sacred statue of Our Lady had been desecrated and placed on the bonfire only for it to later be removed amid calls of revulsion.

Speaking yesterday Gregory Campbell, DUP assembly member, described the placing of the statue at the site as "unacceptable".

"No-one would attempt to justify or defend that in any way whatsoever," he said.

"It is totally unjustifiable and whether people are doing that as a result of some sort of reaction, it doesn't matter. It's simply unjustifiable." ? ? CULTURAL TRADITION:: The bonfire at Cluan Place in east Belfast including a papal flag. Below, a bonfire blocks Crumlin Road in the north of the city

PICTURES:: Mal McCann ? ? SCALING NEW HEIGHTS:: Bonfire preparations on the Donegall Road in Belfast PICTURE:: Mal McCann ? ? TOWERING INFERNO:: Main picture, a bonfire at Sandy Row in south Belfast with a figure dressed in papal robes at the top. Inset, tyres on a bonfire in Roden Street in the city



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