Belfast Telegraph

Legal bid to remove New Lodge bonfire ends after police pull out

By Alan Erwin

Landowners have ended a High Court bid to restrain anyone from preventing the removal of an anti-internment bonfire in north Belfast.

The Department for Infrastructure was seeking an injunction aimed to ensuring contractors could dismantle the structure on a road in the New Lodge area.

But after police left the site amid violent scenes, lawyers for the Department confirmed Thursday's planned removal would not go ahead without their support.

Barrister Aidan Sands said the legal move had been "overtaken by events".

He told the court: "In the circumstances we have little alternative but to withdraw the application."

Earlier youths threw missiles at PSNI vehicles as trouble flared in the area around the bonfire.

Two people climbed to the top of the unlit pyre as part of attempts to stop its removal.

Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Police deal with disorder at the Newlodge bonfire in north Belfast on August 8th 2019 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

One of those individuals was identified and named in the court application.

Mr Sands had argued that the Department, as the owner of the road, was entitled to control activities on the road.

He cited the public safety risk to residents in the nearby tower blocks in the reasons for seeking to dismantle the bonfire material.

During the hearing, however, it emerged that police had exited the area.

A departmental official said more than 100 officers were on the site, but he had received information police believed their continued presence could escalate the situation.

"They believe to carry out the function to protect the contractor in the removal operation they would have to use what used to be called baton rounds," the official told the court.

Following confirmation of the abandonment of the operation, Mr Justice Maguire consented to the application being withdrawn.

He said: "It's slightly frustrating in that the court is concerned in ensuring the rule of law takes its course, but the effect of court action obviously depends on the situation at the time it is asked to take the action."

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