Belfast Telegraph

Bloomfield Walkway bonfire a 'risk to life and not wanted' says PUP's Kyle

By Mark Edwards

A leading PUP councillor described a controversial bonfire in east Belfast as "a real risk to life".

However, the Department of Infrastructure (DfI) - which has been urged to act - maintains a "collective approach" is still needed to prevent damage to homes.

On Monday Belfast council was preparing to file an injunction against the Stormont department over the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire- in a bid to reduce its height.

PUP councillor John Kyle, said the bonfire was in a "completely inappropriate location" and was "a real risk to life and property", adding the bonfire was strongly opposed by the community.

A DfI spokesperson said: “The bonfire at the Bloomfield Walkway is on departmental land and was erected without authority.

"The department has acknowledged its responsibilities as a landowner from the outset and we have continued to work closely with all partners, including the council, to manage the public safety risks.

"There is a continued need for a collective approach, to achieve the best possible outcome, in difficult circumstances.”

When asked if the department had any plans to remove bonfire material from the site, the spokesman said they had "nothing further to say at this stage."

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On Monday councillors met with DfI permanent secretary Peter May for two impromptu meetings about the scale of the bonfire.

The site where the bonfire is situated is primarily owned by the DFI. However, the council does have infrastructure nearby, including a play park, and it owns land on the site's northern boundary.

The Belfast Telegraph understands Mr May and DfI officials were of the view that the bonfire is "manageable".

On Monday evening, Jamie Bryson, speaking on behalf of the East Belfast Community Initiative EBCI, said the council was driving an "aggressive agenda" which was raising tensions within the community ahead of the Eleventh night celebrations.

EBCI said this year's pyre has been moved further along the walkway to the "safest available space" and that around half the material had been removed on June 30 due to community concerns.

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