Antrim Town Councillor Noel Maguire has expressed his “disgust and revulsion at bonfire displays which clearly show sectarianism and racism”.
He has called for condemnation and positive action from all political and community representatives to eliminate such displays from 12th celebrations.
“While I welcome the mostly peaceful and calm 12th celebrations this year, the sectarian and racist displays in evidence at eleventh night bonfires across Antrim have plumbed new depths, even beyond the depravity of previous years,” Cllr. Maguire said.
He added: “These hate crimes are carried out with impunity and aided by public funding year on year, without regard for the hurt they cause or the consequences for the people they target. Unreserved condemnation - coupled with positive action - by all political and community representatives is long overdue.”
Mr Maguire said Eleventh night bonfires are “continually presented as family friendly and welcoming to all”.
“By what stretch of anyone’s imagination can this be the case when they are repeatedly accompanied by the burning of images and effigies, alongside hate-filled messages aimed at other sections of our community?,” he said.
He added: “How can anyone take seriously the recent calls from unionist leaders for tolerance when the culture and traditions they defend are continually represented by such acts?
“It is high time all representatives had the courage and maturity to act. Such action would be welcomed by the vast majority of the community. Respect must flow both ways.”