Taylor McGrann is a recently elected Sinn Féin Councillor
Last night Unionists set fire to bonfires across the North of Ireland. This annual event precedes the largest day of marching by the Orange Order.
While some events are peaceful and respectful many more are unregulated, sectarian, offensive, and cause hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage. It remains the busiest night of the year for the fire service.
This year was no different with houses, libraries, and motorway signs boarded up to prevent fire damage.
A common theme in many of the bonfires is the burning of Irish flags, sectarian graffiti, and nationalist posters.
In some cases, it also includes the burning of effigies of Sinn Féin leaders and in one instance the mocked-up lynching of a Sinn Féin Councillor.
Responding to these reports, Sinn Féin Vice President and First Minister Elect Michelle O’Neill said,
“Those attempting to cause offense with effigies should catch themselves on and join the rest of us in building a better future. I am determined to be a First Minister for all. I will represent the whole community irrespective of who you are and where you come from.”
There is no place in society for these actions. There is an onus on those who promote these fires to ensure that they are safe, regulated, and do not promote hate or sectarianism