A local Sinn Fein councillor has said the anti-internment bonfire in Rathenraw was not supported by the local community. Noel Maguire said there had been a “complete lack of concern shown for Rathenraw residents” by those organising the bonfire.
He also condemned the sectarian burning of emblems.
“I want to make it clear that the so-called anti-internment bonfire in the Rathenraw Industrial Estate was not supported by the Rathenraw community,” Cllr. Maguire said.
He added: “Indeed these bonfires are regarded by the majority of the nationalist community as totally irrelevant in today’s context.
“This recent bonfire ‘tradition’ seems to have little to no concern for the impact on local residents nor for the implications of burning emblems associated with other communities.”
Cllr. Maguire said that “despite pleas not to engage in such provocative actions”, the people involved “seemed determined to reduce themselves to the same level of intolerance evident at 11th night bonfire sites”.
“Sinn Féin remains solid in its opposition to the desecration or destruction of any property, flags or emblems representing the traditions and culture of any community, no matter what the circumstances,” Cllr. Maguire said.
He added: “We unreservedly condemn any such sectarian activity.
“We are also concerned that there was a serious risk of community conflict and injury resulting from an attack on the bonfire site by a group claiming to be the LVF.
“There will have to be serious conversations concerning the future of any anti-internment bonfire in Antrim.
“These bonfires belong in the past and do nothing to rightfully commemorate the introduction of internment. They only serve to wreak havoc on the community who are forced to endure the resulting fall-out.”