Homes boarded up ahead of 'unsafe' Portadown bonfire
Homes next to a bonfire in Portadown that has been deemed a "serious risk to the health and safety" of residents have been boarded up in preparation for the lighting of the pyre.
The bonfire in the Corcrain Drive/Redmanville area of the town is due to be lit on Wednesday night.
Last week, a housing association wrote to residents at two blocks of flats next to the bonfire offering them alternative accommodation for the night due to the safety risk posed.
On Tuesday night, it emerged that senior council officers from Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council (ABC) decided not to intervene to remove the pyre.
Pictures from the scene show several houses and flats in the immediate vicinity have now been boarded up in an attempt to prevent damage.
SDLP group leader on ABC council, Thomas O'Hanlon, appealed for calm.
"We should not be in this position. This is not about denying communities their right to cultural expression. This is about protecting life and property," he said.
"There are many who have questions to answer as to how and why we are in this position today. I want to thank our team in council who have worked hard to make progress and seek a resolution.
"I would appeal for calm and even at this stage ask the bonfire group to think of their community. This is a sensitive time and issue, calm heads and safe communities are needed now and in the days ahead."
In the letter sent to residents last week, the South Ulster Housing Association stated that the Fire Service advised the council that the distance between the block of flats and the bonfire was "well short of the minimum distance considered safe".
The Fire Service also said that the "bonfire poses a serious health and safety risk to residents and poses a risk of damage to your property".
Belfast Telegraph Digital