'unacceptable' | 

Leo Varadkar says bonfire burning of effigies of Sinn Féin politicians is ‘appalling’

The Sandy Row Bonfire in Belfast ahead. Photo: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Allison BrayIndependent.ie

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has condemned those who burned effigies of Sinn Féin, Alliance and SDLP politicians during bonfires on the eve of the July 12 celebrations in the North.

Speaking on The Hard Shoulder on Newstalk radio today, he labelled such behaviour as “unacceptable”.

“I think it's appalling, it's unacceptable...among the things that are done is the burning of, you know election posters from different parties, Alliance, Sinn Féin, SDLP and others, the Tricolour, even the Palestinian flag, I just think that's wrong,” he said.

“I think it's absolutely right that people who are part of the Orange culture in our country should be proud of that...I respect the right of people to celebrate their culture and Orange culture is part of that but you don't need to insult other people in the process.”

He added that unionists celebrating the 12th of July holiday shouldn't be insulted as images emerged of an effigy of Northern Ireland First Minister Michelle O’Neill hanging from a noose was burned in Co Antrim on July 11.

“It's not a good culture when you feel you somehow express your culture by insulting or demonising other people, I just don't understand that mentality,” he said.

He added that he attended July 12 celebrations with unionists politicians, including Arlene Foster and Peter Robinson, in the past and that everyone is entitled to respect for their culture and traditions.

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