Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein says £500k bonfire diversion scheme works amid claims of carve up with DUP

William Young used a drone to take this remarkable photo of the bonfire at Sandy Row. 11/07/2017
William Young used a drone to take this remarkable photo of the bonfire at Sandy Row. 11/07/2017
Sandy Row Photo: William Young
Sandy Row Photo: William Young
Roden Street Photo: William Young
Shankill Photo: William Young
The scene on Love Lane in Carrickfergus as the local community rebuild a bonfire after the original bonfire they build was burnt on Monday evening. Picture by Matt Mackey / presseye.com 10/07/2017
The scene on Love Lane in Carrickfergus as the local community rebuild a bonfire after the original bonfire they build was burnt on Monday evening. Picture by Matt Mackey / presseye.com 10/07/2017
The scene on Love Lane in Carrickfergus as the local community rebuild a bonfire after the original bonfire they build was burnt on Monday evening. Picture by Matt Mackey / presseye.com 10/07/2017
Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-07-2017: Final preparations takes place for the Bonfire on Sandy Row in Belfast .The bonfires will be lit in loyalist areas as part of Eleventh Night celebrations on Tuesday night. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-07-2017: Final preparations takes place for the Bonfire on Sandy Row in Belfast .The bonfires will be lit in loyalist areas as part of Eleventh Night celebrations on Tuesday night. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-07-2017: Final preparations take place for the Bonfire on Sandy Row in Belfast .The bonfires will be lit in loyalist areas as part of Eleventh Night celebrations on Tuesday night. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan posted this photo of one of his election posters on a bonfire and said he considers the action a hate crime.
Workmen board up windows of property beside a bonfire at the end of the Comber Greenway off Ravenscroft Avenue in east Belfast. [Photo: Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com]
Workmen board up windows of property beside a bonfire at the end of the Comber Greenway off Ravenscroft Avenue in east Belfast. [Photo: Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com]
Masked men continue to build a bonfire at Inverary Playing Fields in Belfast. Police in Northern Ireland have warned their resources could be stretched amid growing fears of tension around the burning of Eleventh night bonfires. [Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire]
Masked men continue to build a bonfire at Inverary Playing Fields in Belfast. [Photo: PA Wire 10/07/2017]
A bonfire constructed across the road from a petrol station in Carrickfergus was set alight in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Sinn Fein has dismissed Alliance claims Belfast City Council's bonfire diversion scheme has nothing to do with bonfires and is ineffective.

The DUP and Sinn Fein joined forces on Monday night to approve £500,000 in funding the controversial scheme. Last year the Audit Office said the awarding of cash from the scheme on a discretionary basis should be "strongly discouraged".

Sinn Fein said the Audit Office has set out the parameters on how the money should be spent and it would be followed for this year.

However, Alliance said the money could have been better spent and they would have rather more cash was injected into the council's bonfire management programme

"That actually makes a difference to local areas. We would have been happy to see that extended," Councillor Michael Long told the BBC.

He said not a penny of the programme was spent in east Belfast where there were issues last year with legal action taken and contractors brought in to remove two bonfires.

"This is not anything to do with bonfires. It is a carve up between the DUP and Sinn Fein which was totally and utterly condemned in terms of the way it was dealt with last year.... processes were not followed, there was no advertising... it was done basically on the groups they favour."

Michael Long
Michael Long

Councillor Long added: "The reality is most people will be amazed that at a time when businesses are struggling Sinn Fein and the DUP are prioritising this particular type of funding which has very little to do with bonfires rather than good things like trying to increase employment levels, increase skills and provide new services for ratepayers."

However, Sinn Fein Councillor Ciaran Beattie said there had been success with last year's pilot scheme.

He said: "We had an event in Woodvale Park in the Shankill area and there was a massive reduction in anti-social behaviour. There were interfaces I have never seen as quiet in that particular time.

"In August 2018 we did not have one single bonfire in nationalist areas in Belfast for the first time since 1971. So there is clear demonstration of how this funding worked."

He also defended £100,000 being awarded to the west Belfast festival from the scheme.

He said one of the reasons the festival was established 30 years ago was to "move communities away from bonfires" and there were still "significant bonfire" issues in nationalist areas.

Ciaran Beattie
Ciaran Beattie

"These bonfires are not just one night. The is a collection of wood, the storing of wood for months which causes huge problems for residents.

"Feile has moved our community away from that negative impact. It has put on something positive... without the burning of bonfires without the offensive display of burning flag or effigies.

"It is moving our society away from negative impacts to a positive future."

A bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway in east Belfast in July 12 2018. Pacemaker Press
A bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway in east Belfast in July 12 2018. Pacemaker Press
An East Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July.
A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 police in riot gear present at the scene.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2018 The scene at Bloomfield Walk bonfire in east Belfast, which was set on fire during the night. A High Court order late on Tuesday night stated that the bonfire should be reduced in size as it was a danger to surrounding homes. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
The scene at Bloomfield Walk bonfire in east Belfast, which was set on fire during the night. A High Court order late on Tuesday night stated that the bonfire should be reduced in size as it was a danger to surrounding homes. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2018 The scene at Bloomfield Walk bonfire in east Belfast, which was set on fire during the night. A High Court order late on Tuesday night stated that the bonfire should be reduced in size as it was a danger to surrounding homes. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2018 The scene at Bloomfield Walk bonfire in east Belfast, which was set on fire during the night. A High Court order late on Tuesday night stated that the bonfire should be reduced in size as it was a danger to surrounding homes. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2018 The scene at Bloomfield Walk bonfire in east Belfast, which was set on fire during the night. A High Court order late on Tuesday night stated that the bonfire should be reduced in size as it was a danger to surrounding homes. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2018 The scene at Bloomfield Walk bonfire in east Belfast, which was set on fire during the night. A High Court order late on Tuesday night stated that the bonfire should be reduced in size as it was a danger to surrounding homes. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2018 The scene at Bloomfield Walk bonfire in east Belfast, which was set on fire during the night. A High Court order late on Tuesday night stated that the bonfire should be reduced in size as it was a danger to surrounding homes. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Bloomfield Walk bonfire in east Belfast, which was set on fire during the night, as seen from the Castlereigh Hills. A High Court order late on Tuesday night stated that the bonfire should be reduced in size as it was a danger to surrounding homes. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Civilian contractors remove bonfire material from the site. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Civilian contractors remove bonfire material from the site. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 11th July 2018 General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire in east Belfast. The east Belfast bonfire was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced ahead of the 11th July. A large police operation was also put in place with over 100 PSNI officers in riot gear present at the scene. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
The fire was set alight early.
The scene on Wednesday morning.
Bloomfield Walk bonfire on the Comber Greenway before it was set alight.
Fire crews at the pyre last night

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