Ards and North Down Councillor Joe Boyle, the only nationalist representative on the council, has rounded on the DUP as the only party within the Council not to support the condemning of the placing of flags, election posters, effigies and symbols on all bonfires.
Councillor Boyle said: “This therefore sends out the message that as a Council, without such condemnation, we could be viewed as sending out the message there is a level of hate crime activity deemed to be acceptable.
“Last week within the Community and Wellbeing Committee, the issue of a well constructed effigy of myself placed on a July Bonfire, depicting me being hung before being burnt and placed on a July Bonfire, was discussed with those elected members who contributed to the discussion disassociating themselves from such actions that were carried out by those celebrating ‘ Cultural Expression ‘.
“Whilst there was clearly a consensus that what happen was wrong and unacceptable, the DUP collectively failed the acid test of displaying courage and above all leadership by refusing, as the only political party in the chamber, to condemn the placing of such material on any future bonfires.
“The DUP needs to step up to the mark and provide leadership, tolerance and respect.
“The DUP wriggled around the chamber debate and ultimately caved in after what could have been perceived as positive contributions throughout the debate. Their failure, as the only political party within the Council to condemn such future actions and send a positive message out across the Ards and North Down Borough is symptomatic of the approach that the DUP has adopted for a number of months thus preventing the re-establishing of an Executive and Assembly within Stormont.”