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King condemns ‘bigotry’ behind McGuinness effigy

Congressman Peter King has condemned burning of McGuinness effigy


By Irish Echo Staff

A leading Irish American member of Congress has condemned as “bigotry” the burning of a Martin McGuinness effigy in a loyalist bonfire.

Congressman Peter King decried the “bigotry against Martin McGuinness” describing it as “disgraceful.”

“After all these years it is unfortunate that the hate mongers are still around,” said the Long Island Republican member of the House of Representatives.

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King’s has been a prominent voice in Congress on matters related to Northern Ireland over the past three decades.

He has penned a trilogy of novels set during the Troubles.

Fr. Sean McManus of the Washington, D.C.-based Irish National caucus also condemned what he described as the “insult” to Mr. McGuinness and his memory.

And the late Deputy First Minister’s son, Emmet, has stated that he has forgiven loyalists who burned the effigy – a coffin with a cut out of his father’s face – in an East Belfast “11th Night” pyre.

Nevertheless, McGuinness said it was time for the "annual display of hate to end."

Sinn Féin South Antrim MLA, Declan Kearney, described the effigy as disgusting.

"This display is a particularly sickening manifestation of the hate we have witnessed across the North over recent days, including some of the most vile sectarian and racist abuse," the South Antrim MLA said.

"This is the action of hatemongers intent on indoctrinating bigotry and perpetuating sectarian divisions in our society.

“Their behavior stands in stark contrast to the work that Martin McGuinness did to build reconciliation and reach out the hand of friendship.

"It is also grossly insulting to the McGuinness family which still mourns the loss of a much loved father, brother and grandfather.

“It is simply unacceptable that unionist political parties still refuse to condemn this kind of hate crime.

"Rather than supporting these so-called celebrations and, in some cases, posing for photos as they light the bonfires, it is long past time that political unionism showed some leadership and called for an immediate end to these sickening displays.

"I am directly challenging the leaders of all unionist parties to immediately disassociate themselves and their parties from this and other examples of sectarian hate crime."