The DUP has defended Deputy Lord Mayor Margaret Tinsley after she posed for photographs at a Portadown bonfire featuring the Irish national flag on top.
Sinn Fein called for the DUP woman, who is currently Deputy Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, to be disciplined by her party after she posted the photos on Facebook attending the bonfire event on Monday night.
The series of photos on Cllr Tinsley’s Facebook page shows the bonfire at various stages including the burning of the Irish Tricolour.
She stated: “Brilliant bonfire. Well done to all the volunteers. Always a Great start to the July celebrations.”
The DUP said Cllr Tinsley had attended the bonfire event at Edenderry ‘in her own capacity’ and not as Deputy Mayor.
SF Cllr Keith Haughian said: “It’s absolutely unacceptable that the Deputy Mayor and another DUP Councillor posed for photos in front of a bonfire in Edenderry in which the Irish national flag was clearly being burned.
“The Deputy Mayor is supposed to represent everyone in the borough, but glorifying this type of activity is deeply offensive to large sections of our society.
“Burning of flags, posters and effigies on bonfires is wrong and have been rightly described by the PSNI as hate crimes.
“I’m calling on the DUP to show leadership on these bonfires and to explain the actions of their elected representatives.
“Do they think the burning of the Irish national flag is acceptable or will they condemn this display of hate and discipline the party members involved?”
A DUP spokesperson said, “Cllr Margaret Tinsley attended the events in her own capacity and not as Deputy Mayor for Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, with Alderman James Tinsley.
“The DUP have been clear in the past that culture is not the burning of flags or posters.
“SF are not in the position to lecture when it comes to commemorative events within their own community.
“Respect for each other’s culture works both ways.
“Both communities should work to express culture in a dignified way,” said the DUP statement.