Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin warns organisers of August 15 bonfires not to burn flags, posters or effigies

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly said organisers must make sure there are no disturbances
Claire Simpson

SINN Féin has warned the organisers of a small number of August 15 bonfires to ensure they do not burn flags, posters or effigies.

Large-scale bonfires have been traditionally lit on August 8 each year to mark the eve of the anniversary of the introduction of internment without trial on August 9 1971.

The bonfires have not been lit in Belfast for several years. However, a small number of pyres are lit on August 15 - the Feast of the Assumption - to mark internment.

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly said organisers must make sure there are no disturbances.

"There is an onus on the organisers of the small number of August 15 bonfires to ensure they pass off peacefully and without displays of hatred," he said.

"There can be no repeat of the images on some loyalist bonfires in July which were blatant displays of hate and sectarianism. There is no place for the burning of flags, posters and effigies on bonfires anywhere in our society. Anyone involved in the organisation of these bonfires should ensure that is the case."

Effigies of Alliance leader Naomi Long, Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O'Neill and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald were hung on an Eleventh Night bonfire in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim.

Several election posters were also placed on bonfires in Belfast, including those of People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll and SDLP representative Paul Doherty.

Northern Ireland news