DUP claims statue on bonfire was a ‘social media spoof’

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The DUP has rejected claims a religious statue was placed on a Belfast bonfire, claiming it was a ‘spoof’ on social media.

Belfast councillor Brian Kingston said the ‘blurred’ photograph appeared on a parody Facebook account with the claim that it shows a statue on the Lanark Way bonfire.

“I have spoken to senior PSNI officers and local community representatives and no-one has seen this alleged incident occurring. This claim appeared on a spoof social media account which should be treated with great scepticism. I have been assured by people close to the bonfire builders that no statue has been placed on the bonfire. It has been suggested to me that the photograph actually shows a person at the top of the bonfire, or else has been doctored.”

Cllr Kingston said the PSNI had received reports of the theft of a statue from a memorial in the Springfield Road area. “I would appeal for the return of that item and for anyone who knows who was responsible for this upsetting crime to pass that information on to the police without delay.”

Meanwhile, Castlereagh Alliance councillor Michael Long condemned the adding of election posters to a Belfast bonfire which, he says, has a UVF banner close to it. He said: “Another bonfire being plastered in election posters is a disgrace. A huge banner promoting a terrorist organisation nearby is also totally unacceptable.”

Also, an independent candidate in the recent Belfast council elections Fra Hughes said his election posters were now adorning the Mount Vernon Shore Road bonfire: “I am a cross-community employer and local human rights activist. I view my poster on the bonfire along with Anna Lo as a hate crime as do the police.”