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Sinister threats made against contractors after bonfire wood removal

By Jonathan Bell

A Belfast councillor has condemned those who made threats against contractors who removed bonfire wood.

Threats were painted against the workers in the New Lodge area after they helped remove bonfire wood. They warned the workers that wood was taken "at your own risk" and "our wood goes... your van goes."

"These workers were acting on behalf of residents who do not want to see properties damaged or someone injured as a result of an illegal bonfire," said Councillor JJ Magee.

“The bonfire material was dumped close to homes and a nursery unit. It was removed by council workers and I’d like to thank them for that. 

“The anti-social elements involved in trying to build a bonfire need to desist from their the intimidation against workers and their attempt to ride roughshod over the wishes of local residents.

“This community has already sent a very clear message and are doing so again – these are not anti-internment bonfires, they are not welcome and those trying to make our community a better place should not be the subject of intimidation," the Sinn Fein politician said.

Anger flared over the construction of the bonfire close to high-rise flats and a children's nursery in the north of the city.

Sinn Fein has criticised the builders of the anti-internment pyre branding it "anti-social" and a "misery" for residents.

The council is to meet this week to discuss the issue of bonfires. Members are to vote on allowing the council to remove bonfire material.

Belfast City Council was asked for a comment and referred us to the Housing Executive saying it was its workers which removed the material.

A Housing Executive spokeswoman said: "We have been made aware that graffiti has appeared on a wall in the New Lodge.

"The Housing Executive takes all threats very seriously but we have no grounds to believe a direct threat has been made against our contractors.

"Removal of material from the New lodge area has been with full community support."

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