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Stormont ministers discuss controversial Tigers Bay bonfire as builders fear removal

Pyre built at interface in north Belfast dividing Tigers Bay and New Lodge

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The Tigers Bay bonfire. Pic: Pacemaker.

The Tigers Bay bonfire. Pic: Pacemaker.

The Tigers Bay bonfire. Pic: Pacemaker.

Three Stormont ministers met on Monday night to discuss a controversial bonfire in north Belfast.

The pyre on Adam Street in Tigers Bay has been described as the “most contentious” in Northern Ireland by Chief Constable Simon Byrne as it faces a peace wall dividing the loyalist area with the republican New Lodge

Justice Minister Naomi Long, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon and Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey are understood to have discussed a number of controversial bonfires at Monday’s meeting.

It comes as police and Belfast council-hired contractors removed an Eleventh Night bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway in east Belfast in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A teenager was arrested during the operation on suspicion of disorderly behaviour.

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A bonfire builder looks on after the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast was removed on Sunday morning. Pic: Pacemaker

A bonfire builder looks on after the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast was removed on Sunday morning. Pic: Pacemaker

A bonfire builder looks on after the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast was removed on Sunday morning. Pic: Pacemaker

Rumours were rife on social media on Monday night that contractors would remove the pyre in Tigers Bay but the bonfire remains in place.

An ominous sign has now been placed on the 10-metre high bonfire, stating: “Move at your own risk.”

Those behind the bonfire released a statement on social media claiming the Tigers Bay community was “under siege from the pan-nationalist front”, including Sinn Fein, SDLP and the Alliance Party.

They said their own recommendations to move the bonfire, reduce its size, remove toxic materials and offensive flags or emblems, and engage with the PSNI and the fire service were ignored. They have rejected replacing the structure with a beacon.

“Our opponents would do well to a learn a lesson from our proud history, where the IRA failed, you will never succeed,” said the group.

“This is no longer about a bonfire; it goes to the core of the one sided peace process over the past 23 years. Unionism must give, and nationalism must get.

“We have nothing left to give and we as a community will peacefully and lawfully defend the right of the bonfire builders to celebrate our culture.”

The Irish News reported that the SDLP was “adamant” that there cannot be a bonfire at the site and that North Belfast MLA Ms Mallon will make the final decision on the pyre’s future within days.

A spokesperson for Belfast City Council, who does not own the land, said its approach to managing bonfires is led by elected members.

“A member-led decision making process has been agreed to consider issues and make decisions on a site-by-site basis,” stated the council.

“Council will continue to engage with community representatives to minimise any potential negative impact of bonfires on local residents, businesses, customers and property.”

The Belfast Telegraph has contacted police, the Department for Infrastructure, the Department for Communities and the Department of Justice for comment.

Northern Ireland bonfires 2021 [Photos] Close

Craigyhill bonfire in Larne.  Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Visitors view the Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Visitors view the Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Craigyhill bonfire stands tall overlooking Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Craigyhill bonfire stands tall overlooking Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Craigyhill bonfire stands tall overlooking Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Craigyhill bonfire stands tall overlooking Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Hugo checks out what all the fuss is about at the Craigyhill in Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Hugo checks out what all the fuss is about at the Craigyhill in Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Craigyhill bonfire stands tall overlooking Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Craigyhill bonfire stands tall overlooking Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Visitors view the Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Visitors view the Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Craigyhill bonfire stands tall overlooking Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Craigyhill bonfire stands tall overlooking Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

A general view of the bonfire in Tiger's Bay.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 A general view of the bonfire in Tiger's Bay. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Craigyhill bonfire stands tall overlooking Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Craigyhill bonfire stands tall overlooking Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Visitors view the Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Visitors view the Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. 

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

A general view of the bonfire in Tiger's Bay.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 A general view of the bonfire in Tiger's Bay. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

A general view of the bonfire in Tiger's Bay.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 A general view of the bonfire in Tiger's Bay. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

A general view of the bonfire in Tiger's Bay.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 A general view of the bonfire in Tiger's Bay. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021

A general view of the bonfire in Tiger's Bay.

Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

PressEye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2021 A general view of the bonfire in Tiger's Bay. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye

Press Eye/Philip Magowan

Bonfire under construction in Portadown, Co Armagh. (Press Eye Ltd)

Bonfire under construction in Portadown, Co Armagh. (Press Eye Ltd)

A bonfire in the Loyalist Tigers Bay Area, Belfast, that is situated on the peace line. Pic Peter Morrison/PA Wire

A bonfire in the Loyalist Tigers Bay Area, Belfast, that is situated on the peace line. Pic Peter Morrison/PA Wire

PA

Bonfire under construction. (Press Eye Ltd)

Bonfire under construction. (Press Eye Ltd)

A massive bonfire in the loyalist Craigyhill area of Larne dwarfs local houses in the seaside town.  Loyalists across Northern Ireland have been building bonfires in preparation for the eleventh night celebrations, as part of a loyalist tradition to mark the anniversary of the Protestant King William's victory over the Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

A massive bonfire in the loyalist Craigyhill area of Larne dwarfs local houses in the seaside town. Loyalists across Northern Ireland have been building bonfires in preparation for the eleventh night celebrations, as part of a loyalist tradition to mark the anniversary of the Protestant King William's victory over the Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

PA

A massive bonfire in the loyalist Craigyhill area of Larne dwarfs local houses in the seaside town.  Loyalists across Northern Ireland have been building bonfires in preparation for the eleventh night celebrations, as part of a loyalist tradition to mark the anniversary of the Protestant King William's victory over the Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

A massive bonfire in the loyalist Craigyhill area of Larne dwarfs local houses in the seaside town. Loyalists across Northern Ireland have been building bonfires in preparation for the eleventh night celebrations, as part of a loyalist tradition to mark the anniversary of the Protestant King William's victory over the Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

PA

A massive bonfire is placed opposite a fire station in Newtownards.  Loyalists across Northern Ireland have been building bonfires in preparation for the eleventh night celebrations, as part of a loyalist tradition to mark the anniversary of the Protestant King William's victory over the Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

A massive bonfire is placed opposite a fire station in Newtownards. Loyalists across Northern Ireland have been building bonfires in preparation for the eleventh night celebrations, as part of a loyalist tradition to mark the anniversary of the Protestant King William's victory over the Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

PA

Bonfire under construction. (Press Eye Ltd)

Bonfire under construction. (Press Eye Ltd)

/

Craigyhill bonfire in Larne. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye


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