SDLP rep from unionist background “disappointed’ after posters placed on bonfire”

Posted By: July 14, 2020

The Irish News. Brendan Hughes. 

N SDLP representative from a unionist background has said she did not watch Twelfth parades yesterday after her election posters were placed on a bonfire.

Heather Wilson said she was “extremely disappointed” her council election posters ended up on a bonfire in the Ballysillan area of north Belfast.

The 29-year-old Protestant was a candidate for the SDLP in last year’s council elections – the first woman from a unionist background to stand for the party.

Ms Wilson said she grew up watching Twelfth of July events with her family.

“I’m extremely disappointed that my election posters ended up on a local bonfire. I’ve always enjoyed the Twelfth season with family and friends but now I’ve made the decision not to attend a local parade,” she said.

“Despite my personal politics, I feel I have been consistently fair when it comes to the issues of parading and bonfires. So unless someone wants to explain to me otherwise, the placing of my posters on a local bonfire is nothing but an act of sheer bigotry and intimidation.

“However, I want to make clear that I know this behaviour is not reflective of loyalism as a whole, but rather a small, insecure minority, and whatever the constitutional settlement now or in the future, I will always be a genuine advocate for loyalism to have its full place in our society.”

Ms Wilson received cross-party support when she mentioned on Twitter how her posters had been placed on a bonfire.

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken responded: “Heather, this is a despicable act, and burning of all posters, images and national flags doesn’t and shouldn’t, represent the community in any way.”