Man guilty over racist slogan on Ballycraigy bonfire

Colin White leaves Antrim courthouse where he was found guilty of displaying a racist slogan at a July 11 bonfire in Co Antrim
Colin White leaves Antrim courthouse where he was found guilty of displaying a racist slogan at a July 11 bonfire in Co Antrim

A man has been convicted of displaying threatening or abusive material after a racist slogan appeared on a loyalist bonfire last year.

Colin White, 19, from Farmhill in Antrim, was found to be responsible for the message on the gigantic bonfire on loyalist Ballycraigy estate.

The Bonfire in Ballycraigy in Antrim

The Bonfire in Ballycraigy in Antrim

Among the slogans on the bonfire – which was bedecked with Irish tricolour flags – was one which included a racial slur and referred to disliking black people.

The defendant denied writing it, but judge Alan White, sitting at Antrim Magistrates’ Court, said he did not believe him.

The court was told that White had learning difficulties. The judge adjourned sentencing until January, as he awaits a pre-sentence report.

In the wake of the 2014 bonfire, Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin had said that some of the material on the bonfire was “clearly distasteful and offensive”.

However, since the items were destroyed when the bonfire was ignited, he had said “it is unlikely there will be any evidential material to progress”.

Declan Kearney, Sinn Fein chairman, last night branded the bonfire “a sectarian obscenity”, adding: “It is clear this is not an isolated case and this ruling sets a legal precedent which will have much wider significance.”