Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

In Pictures: Bonfires across Northern Ireland ahead of Twelfth marches

People take photographs with their phones of bonfires burning across Belfast from Cavehill
People take photographs with their phones of bonfires burning across Belfast from Cavehill
Bonfire in the Highfield Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Members of the public take photographs at a bonfire on Sandy Row, Belfast on the eve of the annual 'Twelfth of July' celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
Members of the public take photographs at a bonfire on Sandy Row, Belfast, on the eve of the annual 'Twelfth of July' celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
Members of the public watch the bonfire on Lanark Way, West Belfast on the eve of the annual 'Twelfth of July' celebrations, marking the victory of King William III's victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: An unidentified man dances with a Union Jack flag and a protestant band flute in front of a Loyalist bonfire on Lanark Way on July 12, 2014 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 12: Loyalist youths stand and take photographs with their mobile phones of bonfires burning from the Cave Hill mountain high above the city July 12, 2014 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 11: An unidentified man dances with a Union Jack flag and a protestant band flute in front of a Loyalist bonfire on Lanark Way on July 11, 2014 in Belfast. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Bonfire in the Lanark Way area of the Shankill in west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Lanark Way area of the Shankill in west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
A mural close to a bonfire in the Lower Shankill Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Lanark Way area of west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Lanark Way area of west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Highfield Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Highfield Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Lower Shankill Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Highfield Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Lanark Way area of west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Lower Shankill Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Highfield Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bonfire in the Highfield Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Firemen dampen houses in the vicinity of a bonfire in the Lower Shankill Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Firemen dampen houses in the vicinity of a bonfire in the Lower Shankill Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Firemen dampen houses in the vicinity of a bonfire in the Lower Shankill Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
General view of a bonfire in the Lanark Way area of west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
General view of a bonfire in the Lanark Way area of west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Firemen dampen houses in the vicinity of a bonfire in the Lower Shankill Estate, west Belfast. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Bonfires lit across Belfast. Photograph: Kevin Scott
Bonfires lit across Belfast. Photograph: Kevin Scott
General view of a bonfire in the Lower Shankill Estate, west Belfast this evening. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Fire crews were called to at least six Eleventh night bonfires, dousing one property with water jets to prevent it igniting.

Half of the incidents, all reported between 6pm and 9pm, needed urgent action to ensure the safety of homes.

At one, crews used main jets to cool nearby sheds in order to ensure heat from a large bonfire didn’t set them alight.

Beacons lit up across the province last night ahead of today’s Twelfth celebrations — but some were again marred by controversy over sectarian and racist effigies and banners.

Among the biggest was at Lanark Way in west Belfast.

But as darkness fell and the flames began to rise, condemnation continued of the placing of election posters and flags on top of some of the pyres.

Last night Gerry Adams added his voice to a series of calls from politicians for the removal of campaign posters and effigies placed on bonfires.

It came after a representation of the Sinn Fein president hanging from a pretend gallows was placed on a bonfire in Ballycraigy.

Mr Adams described it as a “deeply offensive and a clear hate crime”.

“The Orange Order claims that bonfires are an important part of Protestant culture and should be welcoming to families,” he said.

“The figure of a lynch victim on a bonfire is not a welcoming sight for anyone. This is a disturbing escalation of sectarian and hate crime.

“The Orange Order must take immediate steps to have it removed.”

Last night an Orange Order spokesman said: “The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland does not organise bonfires; however, we would urge those involved to act responsibly.”

Elsewhere, an effigy of Sinn Fein's Niall Ó Donnghaile, a former Lord Mayor of Belfast, was placed on top of Cluan Place bonfire in east Belfast and a banner displaying racist abuse about Hong Kong-born Alliance MLA Anna Lo appeared on a bonfire in Orangefield Park.

Alliance councillor Laura McNamee condemned those responsible for the banner about Ms Lo, saying she was appalled by it.

“Statutory agencies should take action against those bonfires which contain tyres, posters, flags and offensive banners. This does not constitute a positive expression of cultural identity; it merely seeks to offend others,” she said.

A police spokeswoman last night 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.”

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