Doug Beattie blasts 'hypocrites' who stay silent on bonfire effigies and sectarian attacks

UUP Leader Doug Beattie has criticised those 'hypocrites' who complain about pro-IRA chants but are silent on issues around the Twelfth.

The UUP leader has criticised the 'hypocrites' who complain about pro-IRA chants but refuse to condemn sectarian issues around the Twelfth.

Doug Beattie said Twelfth celebrations had been "completely undermined" by sectarian incidents.

Election posters of several politicians and Irish tricolours were placed on a number of bonfires, and an Aontú election candidate's car was burnt out in what police are investigating as a crime.

Mr Beattie also condemned those who attacked members of the ambulance service on the 11th night.

The Upper Bann MLA said the past couple of days had seen "the best and worst of days".

"Communities have celebrated both the 11th and 12th in the spirit that it was intended. They have attempted to make it inclusive, family orientated, a genuine community celebration," he said.

"Sadly, there are those within communities and our society who have completely undermined those celebrations with their actions belittling the Twelfth activities."

Michelle O'Neill said those placing effigies on bonfires needed to 'catch themselves on'. Credit: PA

Mr Beattie said sectarian acts and the assaults on ambulance staff "have shown the very worst in people" and in some cases "a criminal offence has been committed".

"It has also damaged the image of the Twelfth and unionist culture, history and identity," he added

"Those who complain around individuals singing pro-IRA songs, itself hurtful to many victims, then remain silent when this activity takes place are hypocrites. Those who stoke the fires of intolerance and hate must take responsibility for their actions and words.

"As a Unionist I want to promote our shared history, culture and traditions but the actions of some shame us all”.

There was widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum after effigies, election posters and Irish flags were placed on come bonfires.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said it was important to respect the identity of others after a flag and image of Leo Varadkar were placed on a bonfire on Moygashel.

He said it was "wrong and disrespectful".

He said he believed the "overwhelming majority" of unionists opposed the placing of images and flags on bonfires.

"If people want to earn respect and have respect for their own identity and culture then they have got to show respect for others," he said.

He said effigies and flags should not be placed on bonfires, adding: "To do things that I believe are disrespectful to others and are not set in a historical context, I think that is wrong.”

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