Mayo Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh says she is deeply concerned about the burning of her poster on a Loyalist bonfire in Belfast on the eve of July 12 after photographs appeared on social media earlier this week of her election poster being burned along with the tricolour.
Senator Conway-Walsh, who is leader of the Sinn Féin team in Seanad Eireann, said: "I was shocked to be sent photographs of Loyalist bonfire displaying my election poster. As a mother of two young children and a public representative in Mayo I do not know why I would be targeted in this way. This naked display of sectarianism is clearly an incitement to hatred and should be treated as a hate crime. As such I am making a formal complaint to the PSNI and contacting the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to put a stop to this type of hatred.
"Some claim that bonfires are an important part of culture and should be welcoming to families, but how can these displays of naked sectarianism be welcoming to anyone? The burning of election posters and Irish tricolours on public bonfires is unacceptable. What message does the burning of images of elected representatives send out to children?
"It is also time for those who use the pretence of journalism to incite hatred of particular politicians and political parties to reflect on the part they play in inciting hatred and dehumanising elected representatives who are doing their best to make their communities, county's and regions better places to live. It is healthy to examine, debate and critically analyse policies and positions of political parties but to incite hatred of individuals is not acceptable."