Local MLA brands burning of election posters a hate crime

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Monday, July 18th, 2016
Community, Politics
Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has branded the burning of election posters on bonfires a hate crime. bonfire2The South Armagh MLA was reacting to reports that her image was among those burned on bonfires across the constituency. “The burning of flags and posters of anyone who is not overtly unionist is clearly a hate crime. There are no two ways about it, it is an open display of, and incitement to, hatred,” she said. “In no other civilized society would such naked sectarianism and racism be not only tolerated, but brazenly celebrated. I pity anyone who thinks such blanket hatred can be passed off as culture. “”There has been a deafening, but not unexpected, silence from the Orange Order and unionist parties on the numerous hate crimes that have taken place at bonfires in the past week. She continued, “It is clear that many in the Orange Order and many unionist politicians are witnessing these hate crimes and at best turning a blind eye, at worst actively taking part in them. It is deeply worrying that promoting hatred towards anything Irish, Nationalist or Catholic through these displays is not taken seriously by unionist parties. “We all have a collective responsibility to stamp out hatred and sectarianism in our society especially when it comes from within our own communities.” Her party colleague Cathal Boylan said bonfires must be regulated. “I simply cannot understand the mentality that would regard a 24 year old woman as a hate figure worthy of burning,” he said. “When the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 Megan Fearon was seven years old. She is a positive, fresh face in politics and an inspiration to young women across the country. In a field dominated by men, Megan bucked the trend, taking her seat in the Assembly at just 21 years old and gaining a Ministerial position at just 24.
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July 2016“Is that what they hate? That there is a young, strong woman out there saying to girls across the country, no matter what your background is you can do anything you put your mind to? I am, frankly horrified by the mentality that could regard her a figure worthy of hatred. “In addition to the annual displays of hatred we have seen this year the horrendous physical damage that can be caused by these bonfires when there is no regulation or control, most notably with the destruction of three homes in Belfast. Boylan added, “We need to see action and leadership to tackle all aspects on bonfires, including the damage to property and the environment and the hate crimes associated with burning election posters, flags and other items.”
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