Her comments come after she successfully proposed that no Council funding will be given to any bonfire displaying certain paraphanila.
Cllr. Hardy said:
“Last year a number of bonfires were quite grotesque in their blatant displays of sectarianism. Local GAA flag and banners had been stolen as well as election posters from Republican candidates and placed prominently on bonfires. This is unacceptable and has nothing to do with culture.
“Incredibly, some of these bonfires received funding from Council. In my view this is unacceptable. I have successfully pushed within Council that no Bonfire displaying symbols such as this should receive ratepayers money. This is a sensible decision taken by the new council however it was discouraging to find out that many of the sites have disengaged with the grants process this year due to the new conditions attached. This only exposes the fact that many of the bonfires are not about celebrating culture but displaying hatred. ”
“I hope that the sensible decision taken to stop the funding of these bonfires is followed up by leadership from political Unionism. The issue of illegally burning tyres and all types of emblems also needs dealt with but this is a step in the right direction in working together to end all of the sectarianism and hate crimes that take place around certain bonfires within this Borough.”