Was the ‘Virgin in the Bonfire’ posed to inflict maximum political damage on the Orange?

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 07.20.53Interesting piece in the Belfast Telegraph which throws a little more light on the Virgin Statue on the Bonfire story, which was one of the many Orange sins recounted by Chris the other day…

Fr Donegan, the parish priest of Ardoyne, who said it seemed that the statue was only on the bonfire at Lanark Way for 10 minutes before it was removed, said he believed “hoods” from both sides of the divide had swapped stolen cars and the statue was left in the car afterwards.

The piece was written on the heel of an account given by William Humphrey, who claimed that in fact the statue was put there by nationalist youths. He received a lot of derision from the nationalist side for the mere suggestion. So you take your pick?

If it was the work of nationalists, it has done its job. Gerry Kelly’s retort on the matter was to “ask Mr Humphrey to explain how, if the statue was thrown on the bonfire, in photographs it was clearly sitting upright on a plinth”.

Indeed. Not only sitting upright, but with an empty bottle of Budweiser carefully placed by its side. Almost as though it was put there in order to take an incriminating photograph…

Hmmmm… Certainly, at the very least, some sort of mutual arrangement does seem likely…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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