Belfast Telegraph

Contractor employed to remove Belfast bonfire wood, Sinn Fein councillor McVeigh claims

By Jonathan Bell

A Sinn Fein councillor has said Belfast City Council has appointed a contractor - claiming it is ready to remove material from bonfire sites across the city.

The council, however, said it could only confirm a contractor was appointed and a secrecy clause in its contract meant it could not disclose what it was employed to do.

Last week it was revealed Belfast City Council had issued an injunction to prevent bonfires becoming any larger before they are lit on July 11, and prevents anyone from staying on the sites.

The four bonfires at the centre of the injunction are at Bloomfield Walkway, Avoniel Leisure Centre car park, Inverary playing fields and Cregagh Park East.

Read more:

Belfast bonfire injunction: Full text of order and locations of sites concerned 

Jamie Bryson stokes tensions with councillor bonfire ultimatum 

Bonfire injunction: 'What is the council and PSNI going to do... take about 700 of us to court?'  

Once again bonfires add fuel to tensions 

Sinn Fein leader on Belfast City Council, Jim McVeigh said a contractor had been appointed and was ready to move in to remove wood "wherever that is required".

"That's a fact," he told the BBC Stephen Nolan Radio Ulster show.

Councillor Jim McVeigh

Councillor McVeigh said it was "very important" the police supported the contractor in its work.

He said he welcomed the move and that all parties "including the unionist parties" had supported the move to obtain the "ground-breaking" injunction, saying that it was "very important" the move had led to a debate across the community.

"The injunction is clear there should be no bonfires on these sites," he added.

During a heated exchange with Jamie Bryson, he added: "Anybody who builds bonfires right beside houses, anybody that puts flags - Union Jacks or tricolours on bonfires - are headcases."

He added: "This is not about bonfires, this is about bonfires which are dangerous, which are too close to people's homes, which are too high. Let's not forget Grenfell and the tragedy that happened there."

Read more:

Council workers forced to withdraw from east Belfast due to alleged threat - report 

UDA boss Stitt's gang behind theft of bonfire pallets stored by Belfast City Council

The bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway has been at the centre of controversy after the council was found to be storing pallets for it. They were subsequently stolen.

"The idea the council would have been taking away and storing 3,000 pallets for some of these bonfires was a disgrace and thankfully we put a stop to that. This [the injunction] is a policy decision supported by all the parties.... and it is the right decision," added councillor McVeigh

Belfast City Council said a contractor was employed to work at "various sites," however a confidential clause with the firm meant it could disclose nothing more.

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