Thursday, 11 July 2019
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
On behalf of Sinn Féin, I extend my thanks to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, the Ceann Comhairle and all of the people who sit in the Chair for their contributions to the efficient running of the House. I also offer a special thanks to the ushers and the administrative and support staff who keep this place running, often at very family unfriendly hours. They do so with great heart, spirit and tolerance of us, as politicians who work here. I hope everyone gets to enjoy some rest and relaxation over the holiday period.
Today, 11 July, is a day when many in the loyalist and unionist communities on our island light bonfires to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. Many of these events pass off without any great disruption to people's lives but, in some areas, there are sure to be, as ever, incidents of hate crimes with election posters belonging to representatives of Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland being burned. In some instances, effigies of Sinn Féin representatives have been hung on these bonfires and the Tricolour is regularly burned on bonfires in some parts of the North.
These incidents would be considered hate crimes in anybody's book and so-called cultural expression cannot be an excuse for some of the behaviour witnessed over the period around 12 July. I ask the Tánaiste to join me in condemning all acts of hatred and sectarianism and in calling on the leadership of the Orange Order, other loyal orders and political unionism to take a stand against these kinds of acts.