Belfast Telegraph

Belfast council to vote on removing bonfire materials

Special meeting called to tackle issue

A special meeting of Belfast City Council has been called to discuss the matter of bonfires and to allow staff to remove materials.

The meeting has been called by Belfast Sinn Fein councillor Jim McVeigh.

The motion states: "This council gives permission to our council officers to remove bonfire materials or employ contractors to facilitate the removal of bonfire materials from council sites and other sites, which belong to statutory agencies and those which are in private ownership."

Councillor McVeigh said the meeting was called to allow for a vote on allowing council workers and contractors to take action on bonfire sites.

"The decision to call the special council meeting has been taken due to the refusal of the unionist parties to agree to permit the council to remove bonfire materials from all sites," he said.

"These bonfires are a threat to life and to property. No bonfire is a safe bonfire.

"They are a blight on communities and a magnet for anti-social behaviour."

He continued: "Sectarian hate crimes, racist hate crimes, the burning of stolen property, appalling physical and environmental damage occur at these sites, and not only that but the ratepayers of this city have to foot the cost of this year in and year out.

"Laws are being broken and this council has a duty to act."

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, August 2 at 6.30pm.

This year bonfires have sparked controversy. One Sandy Road pyre damaged a nearby apartment block, while another in a republican area was dismantled after calls for it to be removed.

In another instance the council was found to be storing pallets for an east Belfast bonfire only for them to be stolen.

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