Revealed: huge bill for Northern Ireland's bonfires
Ratepayers and local councils footed a repair bill of £280,000 in the wake of this year's Eleventh Night bonfires.
As well as council expenditure on the bonfires, which cost nearly £160,000, many bonfires were located in housing estates and close to public roads, leaving the Housing Executive and Roads Service to help pay for the clean-up operation.
The Housing Executive spent £96,000 of its maintenance budget removing debris, cleaning and repairing sites, and repairing damage caused to nearby homes. The Roads Service removed bonfire material from public roads, and inspected the area for any damage caused, at a cost of £31,000.
The emergency services also incurred extra costs. The ambulance service were called to bonfires 17 times on the Eleventh night, while over the past five years the fire service have spent over £3.5 million on attending bonfires.
The overall council expenditure on bonfires has increased by over £40,000 from last year, with Belfast City Council spending the most. Their £54,000 repair bill went towards sites such as the contentious pyre located near the entrance of Belfast City Hospital. Only Strabane, Fermanagh and Newry & Mourne incurred no bonfire-related costs.
COUNCIL EXPENDITURE ON BONFIRES IN SUMMER 2010
Dungannon & South Tyrone £100
Newry & Mourne £0
North Down £1,200
2009 total £116,978
2008 total £98,452