Belfast Telegraph

1,800 tyres on pyre - How does removing them dilute Britishness? asks PUP over John Kyle graffiti

Belfast City Council removes tyres from London Road bonfire. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Belfast City Council removes tyres from London Road bonfire. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

The chairman of the PUP has asked how removing tyres from bonfires - and preventing toxic fumes being inhaled by people in communities - dilutes your unionism or Britishness.

It comes after graffiti about the party's councillor John Kyle was painted in east Belfast.

He spoke out in defence of the removal of tyres from a bonfire in London Street on Sunday. Masked contractors employed by the council moved in to remove the tyres. A number of unionists supported the move.

It was revealed on Monday 1,800 tyres were removed in total.

PUP chairman Brian Lacey said his party's position on bonfires was "simple" and they fully supported the annual tradition.

"Could someone please explain to me how supporting the removal of vehicle tyres from an Eleventh night bonfire, in any way dilutes your Unionism and indeed Britishness?" he asked.

"Does spreading toxic and environmentally damaging smoke and fumes around your local area, make you more of a Prod? Of course not."

He said his party was fully supportive of the bonfire tradition and he would enjoy them with his grandchildren. He said it was "feasible" communities would have regulations imposed on them should bonfire safety issues persist.

"They have to be conducted properly and safely," he continued saying they should not be built with tyres or close enough to homes to pose a threat to a property or its residents.

"Bonfires on the Eleventh night are a time-honoured expression of our Protestant culture and should be an occasion of celebration and fun for all concerned.

"They should not, however, be the cause of any potential damage to life or property. And it is for that reason the Progressive Unionist Party supports the legislation around the bonfire issue.

"We don't see the removal of harmful products or the placing of bonfires in a safe place, away from local properties, as supporting a republican agenda. We view it as taking a sensible approach and placing the concerns and welfare of our community at the top of our list of responsibilities.

"As always I look forward to enjoying the bonfires this week and knowing they are built with a regard to the safety of local residents and property, will only enhance the experience."

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