Man arrested during night-time operation to remove pyre built at ‘unsuitable location’
Loyalists in the Bloomfield area of east Belfast had been warned that their bonfire was a danger to property and would have to be removed ahead of its dismantling, according to a unionist councillor.
Police and contractors from Belfast City Council moved in under cover of darkness to dismantle the Eleventh Night bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway at the weekend.
A teenager was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour during the operation to remove the bonfire materials from a site off Ravenscroft Avenue, at the entrance to the Comber Greenway.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, Progressive Unionist councillor Dr John Kyle said that the bonfire builders were aware that the Bloomfield bonfire had been constructed in an unsuitable location, and that it would have to be taken down by the authorities.
Dr Kyle said: “The bonfire was in a location that was dangerous: it was made clear to the bonfire builders that it would not be possible to have a bonfire in that situation – and that it would need to be removed.”
He said that across the community, there was considerable support for the removal of the bonfire materials.
“The bonfire was removed following cross-party agreement, because it presented a danger to property.
“The removal of the bonfire had the support of local politicians, and most local residents were also in support of its removal”
According to the PUP councillor, there has been no indication that the bonfire will be reconstructed at another location nearby.
“It was made clear to the bonfire-builders that there are more appropriate, safer places to build their bonfire – but I don’t really know whether they are planning to do that,” he said.
"As far as I’m aware, the material was taken away, as opposed to being transported elsewhere.”
PSNI Belfast Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Andy Freeburn, said: “Belfast City Council engaged a contractor to remove material from a bonfire on their site at Bloomfield Walkway in east Belfast.
“Police were in attendance, at the request of the Council, to ensure that the contractors were not obstructed, to ensure their safety and the safety of the public as a whole.
"During the operation a 16-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour. He has since been released, pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service."
It is understood similar action will be taken against other bonfires.
A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: “Members of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee decided to act in the public interest and, given the significant impact to people and property at the bonfire in the proximity of Bloomfield Walkway, east Belfast, there was cross-party agreement that action would be taken to remove the materials.
“Belfast City Council’s approach to managing bonfires is led by elected members. A member-led decision making process has been agreed to consider issues and make decisions on a site by site basis,” the council said.
Meanwhile in Larne, a giant crane was being used to put the finishing touches to a huge Eleventh Night bonfire on the outskirts of the town.
The huge tower of pallets can be seen from miles away, and has become a landmark in the loyalist Craigyhill housing estate.