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Money to burn: Claim wooden pallets cost up to £25 rubbished by bonfire builders as ‘nonsense’

Claims wooden pallets used to build bonfires in Northern Ireland can cost anywhere between “£15 to £25” has been rubbished by members of the loyalist community.

Around 250 bonfires are being built ahead of the Twelfth celebrations.

Craigyhill in Larne is home of the tallest bonfire in Northern Ireland. It stands at over 140ft and is made up of over 15,000 pallets.

If one pallet costs £25, that bonfire alone would come in at an eye watering £375,000.

Another bonfire in Newtownards is 20 metres tall, while two Eleventh Night pyres in Belfast were lit in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with one group claiming it was set alight by members of its own community.

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The bonfire in Newtownards. Photo: Presseye.

The bonfire in Newtownards. Photo: Presseye.

The bonfire in Newtownards. Photo: Presseye.

West Belfast’s Shankill Road and east Belfast’s Pitt Park pyres were both set on fire.

Bonfire builders in Pitt Park believe the bonfire was lit early by members of its own community.

Around 1,000 pallets will now be donated to the Pitt Park pyre organisers from another bonfire site in Co Antrim - costing a possible £25,000.

The claim that pallets costs £15 to £25 was made by a caller on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show on Wednesday.

Presenter Stephen Nolan was asking his listeners where the wooden pallets are being bought and how much they cost.

Some contacted the show claiming on certain sites money was handed over for pallets for use on the fire. Nolan asked one caller to provide the receipts.

Brian in Co Fermanagh told the show it was his understanding the cost of pallets had dramatically increased because of the increase in materials for them.

“I know a guy that builds pallets for a living,” he said. “A lorry load of nails from China has gone up from £7,000 to £12,000 for the nails alone.

“So this nonsense of pallets costing £1 or a fiver is rubbish.

“They’re £15 to £25 a go at the moment. No business person would be giving them away.”

Thomas in north Belfast responded to the claim and said he has never heard “anything so stupid in all my life”.

Meanwhile, Jim in Ballyclare said he could confirm that pallets were available from a number of sources free of charge saying it was more expensive to return them than it is to make them.

When asked why bonfires are becoming so large, Jim said: “It’s competition, put it that way. It’s competition against the government and local councils who are prepared to take them down.

“They’re sending in police with the contractors to take them down. It is organised by the government to stop what the PUL community are doing.

“I am a man of 67, I am in very poor health, I will not be involved in any of this but I do support it.

“There was a time when I was working and I got loads of pallets and I up-cycled the pallets.”

A Google search of pallets showed some could cost from anywhere between £8 and £25. 

“My goodness,” Nolan said. “Where’s this money coming from?”

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