NORTHERN IRELAND'S Minister for Communities has been criticised for helping to set light to a loyalist bonfire in Tyrone.
Minister Paul Givan, DUP MLA, posed for photographs on July 11 - Eleventh Night - beside a stack of pallets ignited to mark the start of Orange celebrations.
Minister Givan said on his Twitter feed: "Enjoyed a wonderful Eleventh Night at Roughan Orange Hall opening a new £320k 4G pitch and celebrating the traditional lighting of the bonfire.
"My late grandfather Herbie was a member of Annahoe LOL 336 and I was delighted to wear his collarette alongside the Orange grandmaster Edward Stevenson, Annahoe District master Trevor Lockhart and First Minister Arlene Foster.
"It was a real pleasure to hear so many people talking about their memories of the Givan clan."
The Minister is now facing criticism on several fronts.
His participation, given that he is in charge of the Department for Communities with a remit to help build sustainable and unified communities, is being regarded as hypocritical to say the least.
@paulgivan Totally disgraceful. A 'public' representative who blatantly & ignorantly publicises his distasteful conflict of interest.
— Nathan Fairview (@NathanFairview) July 12, 2016
Aside from the provocative aspect of Eleventh Night bonfires, there are also environmental fears associated with the practice.
Many fires contain tyres, wooden pallets and old furniture, all of which help to poison the atmosphere.
As minister in charge of the department charged with overseeing urban regeneration, his actions are seen by many as reprehensible.
— Jim Monaghan (@curley39th) July 11, 2016
Minister Givan’s appearance at the loyalist bonfire comes in the wake of his reinstating a £200,000 grants scheme for marching bands suspended previously by Sinn Féin's Carál Ní Chuilín.
Well done Ladyhill Bonfire Group .. Donation to Meningitis NI .. & great turnout from families and local groups pic.twitter.com/tsQug6nPp5
— Danny Kinahan (@DdeBK) July 11, 2016
Meanwhile Ulster Unionist MP Danny Kinahan apologised for posting a photograph on Twitter which showed him standing in front of a Co. Antrim bonfire with a Tricolour top of it.
The South Antrim representative posed for the photograph while holding a cheque for charity.
Mr Kinahan told the Press Association that it had been an error of judgment.
What I wanted to get across was here was a family, rural bonfire scene and they'd raised £600 for meningitis. They were having fun and this is Protestant culture - let's recognise each other's cultures and get on with it."
When contacted by The Irish Post the Department for Communities and Minister Givan were unavailable for comment.