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DUP leader Foster says St Patrick's Day has become too 'Gaelicised'

NewsBy Jamie McDowell
DUP leader Arlene Foster unveils new St Patrick artwork
DUP leader Arlene Foster unveils new St Patrick artwork

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said that St Patrick's Day has become too 'Gaelicised'.

She made the comment as she unveiled a new artwork on Tate's Avenue in South Belfast yesterday.

The 12ft by 8ft metal artwork was unveiled as part of a drive to replace paramilitary murals with positive messages.

Other panels on display show children's different portrayals of the saint, and a separate piece discussing the history of the Red Hand of Ulster and its significance to nationalists and unionists alike. 

School kids from Fane Street and Donegall Road primary schools were also present for the unveiling. 

Mrs Foster said of the school kids: "They have discovered new things about St Patrick and I think that's good and hopefully they will embrace the idea and the vision that he had."

She added: "The difficulty for a lot of unionists and loyalist communities has been the fact that it has been very Gaelicised in terms of celebrating St Patrick.

 "In particular, the use of tricolours and things like that really turn unionists off from the different parades, and I regret that because St Patrick is a Patron Saint of everybody in Northern Ireland and it's regrettable we don't feel that we can enjoy that day and we feel alienated from it, so I would welcome steps to embrace it.

"This community has taken the first step themselves to celebrate St Patrick and I would like to see more civic leadership, particularly here in Belfast, so that people who live in the city don't feel alienated from the Patron Saint."