An Inishowen County Councillor said he is “not surprised” that an election poster featuring his picture and that of a party colleague were burned in a bonfire in Drumahoe over the weekend.
Sinn Fein’s Jack Murray told the ‘Journal’ he was alerted to his poster, with also featured European MEP Matt Carthy, being used when he was contacted by a friend from the Drumahoe area, who had attended college with him.
He said while he “isn’t the first” Sinn Fein Councillor to find their images on top of bonfires, he added he believed the practice should be “condemned” by Unionist leaders within Northern Ireland.
Colr. Murray said: “I had no idea about it until I was contacted by a friend who lived in the area. He sent me a picture of the bonfire, which had a large election poster featuring myself and MEP Matt Carthy on it.
“It definitely isn’t a nice thing to happen, but I’m not that surprised.
“This is something which happens every year. The only thing different about this one is the fact that whoever put it there must have had to go out to Donegal to get it.
“Martina Anderson also had her image placed upon a bonfire and there was an effigy of (Sinn Fein leader) Gerry Adams, so I’m not alone.”
Colr. Murray said while he is not adversely affected by the burning of his image, he believes the message it sends should be condemned.
He said: “Unionist politicians are trying to make these bonfires and the weekend itself as a tourist attraction.
“But, this burning of posters and effigies is definitely not the way to do that. It’s not a good image to be sending out to children or those visiting the area.
“It displays hatred and prejudice, which is definitely not a family-friendly event.
“I believe that Unionist politicians need to show that this is not the way forward. The need to condemn it, call for it to stop and show leadership on the matter.”
Colr. Murray posted the photograph of the bonfire on his private facebook page over the weekend,
He said he has been given strong support from members of the public.
He said: “I received a lot of comments from people who were very disappointed at it.
“People have also been coming up to me on the street, telling me they saw the post on facebook and how terrible they think it was. But, as I said, I’m not shocked, or surprised. These things happen and it’s not just me.”
There was condemnation of the burning of posters and effigies across Northern Ireland at the weekend.