Cllr Laura McNamee said: “I am appalled by those responsible for this racist banner that has been placed on this bonfire. I am deeply offended that my Alliance Party colleague, and indeed members of other political parties, have been targeted in this manner. I hope this banner is removed before the bonfire is set on fire. This is a hate crime which is grossly disrespectful to a hard-working elected representative.
“Statutory agencies should take action against those bonfires which contain tyres, posters, flags and offensive banners. This does not constitute a positive expression of cultural identity. The Alliance Party does not seek to deny people their right to express their cultural identity; in fact, we welcome positive expressions of cultural identity and would be keen to work with groups to ensure that they are able to represent their culture in a positive fashion.
“We must work to ensure that all bonfires in the future are built in a safe and respectful manner. There are a number of Councils who have been operating bonfire schemes and I welcome their work to prevent offensive and dangerous items being placed on bonfires. We must look to deal with those bonfires that do not engage with such schemes and who act in an irresponsible manner.”