Wake up, Belfast. You are shooting yourself in foot by allowing huge, dangerous bonfire in city centre
letter of the day: TIME TO END blight
I have been a tourist in Belfast for the last four days. We came to see Van Morrison at the Slieve Donard in Newcastle. We are from New Zealand and are visiting our daughter in London for seven weeks.
We had a great time visiting Newcastle, the Giant's Causeway, Titanic Belfast, Game Of Thrones Winterfell and doing a black cab tour. All were fantastic and the people at each attraction were great.
We came back into the city and parked near the Holiday Inn. We could not believe that an enormous bonfire has been allowed to be built so close to a hotel and main thoroughfare. This is endangering the lives of so many people. Surely, the bureaucrats can draft and put in place a policy to stop this from happening? I think it makes your government agencies look powerless and absolutely useless.
Having no control on this is beyond ridiculous. These bonfires should not be allowed anywhere near the main city centre. They should be in green spaces and only allowed to be built to certain specifications with permits, allowing the tradition to be carried out with dignity and respect.
From what we were told on our cab tour, the authorities just turn a blind eye. Again: unacceptable.
I feel sorry for the Holiday Inn. It's such a lovely hotel, but I wouldn't stay there due to this eyesore, the lack of safety around it, the type of audience that this event will attract and the fumes once it is lit.
The council, Housing Executive and Fire Service need to unite and create an approach to put rules in place. If nothing is done, this will set a precedent and your economy will suffer, with tourists choosing other safer destinations.
Wake up, Belfast. You can retain your traditions with good rules in place to protect those who live and visit here.
It can be a win, win situation - not an either/or.