Gerry Adams has hit out at the Loyalist extremists who placed an effigy of the Sinn Fein leader in a 12th of July bonfire.

The effigy, wearing a Glasgow Celtic jersey, is hanging from a gallows painted in the colors of the Irish flag.

Sinn Fein believe the effigy, on a bonfire outside Antrim, depicted its president as the North awaits a tense 12th of July across the province.

Adams has described the incident as ‘deeply offensive and a clear hate crime by those responsible.’

He added: “The Orange Order claims that bonfires are an important part of protestant culture and should be ‘welcoming to families.’

“What happens at Orange events is clearly the responsibility of the Orange Order. The figure of a lynch victim on a bonfire is not a welcoming sight for anyone.”

The latest controversy comes after elections posters of Sinn Féin and Alliance Party candidates appeared on loyalist bonfires in Bangor and Carrickfergus, reports

Police spokesperson Lorraine McLearnon said: “Police are aware of numerous items, some of which can only be described as distasteful, that have been placed on bonfires in a number of parts of Northern Ireland.

“Police are liaising with local community representatives in relation to these incidents.”