Bonfires and parades
Sir, – The BBC and UTV have once again provided comprehensive coverage of the 12th of July parades.
This excellent arts and culture programming might, however, be further enhanced by including live coverage of the eleventh night bonfires.
Viewers, particularly those in Britain who hold the union precious, would be captivated by the traditional placing of selected objects on the bonfires, the traditional hosing down of homes once the bonfires are lit, and of course the wonderful community singing that then takes place around them. The 11th night bonfires are an important element of unionist culture and deserve to be properly showcased. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The decision by Belfast City Council to indulge loyalists and the Orange Order by permitting the burning of bonfires which pollute the atmosphere and poison community relations throughout the North is political cowardice.
Loyalists and the Orange Order must not be permitted to dictate local authority policy or intimidate elected public representatives on the issue of contentious bonfires. For local authorities to bow to the undemocratic demands of loyalists is tantamount to permitting the northern state to be governed according to the principles of mob rule. Neither the nationalist community nor the rule of law should acquiesce to threats and intimidation.
Some of these bonfires contain vast imitation funeral pyres adorned with nationalist and republican effigies of people who were voted for, in the main, by Roman Catholics.
We are reminded that these bonfires are inclusive celebrations of loyalist culture where everyone is welcome and respected. This “respect” does not appear to include the thousands who vote for the politicians whose images, names and symbols are consumed in numerous celebratory conflagrations. – Yours, etc,