Belfast Telegraph

Derry bonfire talks fail to reach an agreement

By Donna Deeney

Derry and Strabane Council could be left without a bonfire policy this year because of continuing disagreements.

A "costly" consultant has been appointed to broker agreement on what the bonfire policy should cover.

The decision to introduce an official policy for bonfires built on council land was taken last year after a huge structure was erected on the Lecky Road in the Bogside.

However, finding common ground has proven difficult which led to the council appointing Peter Osborne of Rubicon Consulting to broker agreement. DUP Councillor Drew Thompson said there were two stumbling blocks - liability and a "no safety meeting, no bonfire" clause.

He said: "I think it was necessary to appoint a consultant although I admit they do not come cheap and are costly, but a deadline of April is looming and, if all party agreement cannot be reached, then we are in danger of having no policy at all this year."

Sinn Fein Councillor Karina Carlin considered the appointment of Mr Osborne "worthwhile" but thought the leadership from the unionist bloc on the council could have been stronger.

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