Belfast Telegraph

Bonfire site in Derry now set to be cleaned up

By Brendan McDaid

The Housing Executive is to move in and seize bonfire material in Londonderry after residents expressed anger at the mounting piles of rubbish.

The authority has now agreed to try to gather up the debris being brought to the field between Moss Park and Bracken Park in the Galliagh area for the traditional August 15 bonfire.

Executive representatives attended a meeting earlier this week to discuss widespread concern over the bonfire material being collected by young people.

Police and Derry City Council officers joined Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey, Sinn Fein councillor Elisha McCallion and representatives from youth initiative Off The Streets and Community Restorative Justice at the meeting.

Residents in the area have complained that drunk children, as young as 12, were among the hundreds of people drawn to a massive bonfire on the same site last year.

Ms McCallion said there was “considerable anger in the area” that a similar structure was being built up at present.

She said: “While there are issues around the desirability of bonfires generally, this particular bonfire created unacceptable conditions for residents last year in the area.

“I believe there needs to be a wide discussion about much of the activity that goes on in and around the bonfires particularly the blue bag culture and underage drinking into the early hours of the morning.”

She added: “Parents need to take control of their children and educate them about the dangers and unacceptability of bonfires. There are more acceptable ways to celebrate.’’

Speaking after the meeting, Housing Executive district manager, Eddie Doherty, described the discussions as “positive”.

He said: “People were given the opportunity to voice their concerns or support for the bonfire in Bracken Park/Moss Park area. There was an overwhelming opinion expressed by the attendees that the bonfire should not proceed in this area.”

As a result the HE representatives said that their staff would respect the “real concerns of the residents” and make every reasonable effort to remove the bonfire material gathered on the site.

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