Belfast boxing hero Carl Frampton has revealed how he’s always enjoyed watching the bands on the Twelfth of July, but says some aspects of the Eleventh Night celebrations don’t do the Protestant community any good.
He said: “I’m not saying there shouldn’t be bonfires. But I think that it gets to a point where effigies are being burnt and pictures of people and tricolours and everything else, I think in this day and age they need to come away from that.
“That doesn’t do the Protestant community any good. And I think it’s something they all maybe need to look at.”
Frampton, a Protestant from north Belfast who married a Catholic girl from the west of the city, is someone who transcends social divides and has huge cross-community support.
He argues that both loyalists and republicans should do something to make their traditions more inclusive.
“It’s going to be very difficult. But I think it’s important for both sides of the community to respect the other side and their traditions and their beliefs and live together,” he added.
The former two-weight world champion shares his views out about life in Northern Ireland in a new BBC documentary which takes viewers into his inner sanctum during preparations for the career-defining moment in his life – a fight at his beloved Windsor Park.
The one-hour programme, Frampton: Return of The Jackal, documents the intense two-month build up to the fight taking viewers on a journey alongside Carl, his trainer and his family – revealing the athlete and the man whose fan base spans traditional community divides.
Growing up, he recalls supporting the Northern Ireland football team from the stands of Windsor Park. Now, the boy from Tigers Bay, has the chance to fulfil a lifelong dream of walking out in front of an adoring crowd in this once-in-a-lifetime spiritual homecoming.
• Frampton: Return of The Jackal is on BBC One NI tonight at 9pm.