Councillor Beattie challenges DUP over statue theft
Sinn Féin councillor Ciaran Beattie has challenged the DUP over the theft of a holy statue from west Belfast.
Speaking after a statue was stolen from the Cluain Mor area which later appeared on a loyalist bonfire at Lanark Way, the councillor said;
"The theft of this statue must be condemned. To add insult to injury the statue was then pictured on top of a nearby loyalist bonfire at Lanark Way and there are concerns in the local area that it will be burned.
"This theft was clearly designed to heighten tensions in the area.
"Last year we had a similar incident and the bizarre intervention of DUP MLA William Humphrey who claimed the statue had been placed on the bonfire by nationalists.
"I would call on William Humphrey to come out publicly and condemn this theft.
"The Orange Order has said bonfires should be community celebrations.
"The theft of this holy statue flies in the face of those public positions.
"Is this part of the so-called graduated response that the alliance of unionist parties and the representatives of loyalist paramilitaries have been talking about?
"I would appeal for someone to have the decency to return this statue safely.”