Northern Ireland news

DUP's Arlene Foster condemns Martin McGuinness coffin effigy on bonfire

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the bonfire effigy was "wrong"
Brendan Hughes

ARLENE Foster has condemned a coffin effigy of the late Martin McGuinness placed on a loyalist bonfire.

The effigy was displayed on a pyre at Clonduff Drive, off Castlereagh Road, ahead of the Eleventh Night.

It included the face of the former deputy first minister and a message that read, "F*** the IRA".

Sinn Féin's Mr McGuinness died in March at the age of 66 following an illness.

Video: On Tuesday Mrs Foster released a statement saying that those criticising bonfires "should dial down the rhetoric".

The DUP leader also urged bonfire builders to be "respectful of their neighbours" and "not play into the hands of those who want to demonise the culture".

But speaking to the Impartial Reporter on Wednesday during the Twelfth in Co Fermanagh, Mrs Foster said the bonfire effigy was "wrong".

"I do condemn that because it is not the way in which we celebrate our culture," she told the Impartial Reporter.

"It is wrong and it shouldn't have happened.

"In Fermanagh we don't have any bonfires, it is unfortunate when things like this happen".

She added: "It is about enjoying ourselves and it's standing up for our faith and heritage."

It comes after founding member of the DUP and Orangeman Wallace Thompson criticised the coffin effigy.

In a post on Facebook on Tuesday, he described the display as "wrong", adding: "I'd condemn it without reservation."

He said bonfires are "part of the whole tradition of the Twelfth", but hit out at the scale of some in Belfast.

When images of the effigy first emerged, Mr McGuinness's son Emmett said on Twitter he was raised "never to hate anyone or anything".

He added: "The annual display of hate must end."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news