Belfast Telegraph

UUP councillor feels 'let down' by Belfast colleagues over bonfire injunction silence

By Claire Williamson

A UUP councillor has said he feels "let down" by his party colleagues in Belfast and has urged representatives to engage with bonfire builders.

Councillor John Scott of Antrim and Newtownabbey council said the bonfire builders need a "voice" and criticised the silence on the issue from his colleagues.

Tensions have risen around bonfires in Belfast after the City Council secured a High Court injunction on Friday preventing more materials being added to four loyalist bonfires in Belfast amid health and safety concerns.

Last night masked loyalists appeared to break a court order banning them from extending the Eleventh night bonfire in Belfast.

The loyalists, wearing balaclava and scarves over their faces, could be seen on Monday afternoon using a cherry picker to add wooden pallets onto the top of the bonfire at a site in the east of the city that is at the centre of a controversial court ruling.

However, on Monday at Inverary playing fields - one of the sites covered by the injunction - pallets were being added to the bonfire. Video and photographs taken by the Press Association shows piles of wooden pallets being lifted onto the bonfire and then stacked on top by two masked men.

Loyalists in east Belfast have been left angry by the court injunction.

In a joint statement on Monday the DUP and PUP did not say whether they supported the injunction, but called for a 'Cultural Convention' to be held in the autumn that would "ensure that the unionist community can go forward with one voice in promoting our culture, heritage and tradition".

Councillor Scott told the BBC Stephen Nolan Show said: "I feel let down by the unionist politicians and I'm sure the people in east Belfast are the same - I include in that my colleagues and all in my own party.

"Get out there now, support those people and support those who don't want the fires - speak to everyone. But for the DUP, UUP and PUP to be silent - they need a voice.

"I'm saying to the three of them, get out there and tell the people why this was done. I can't understand the injunction, neither can solicitors, because it's that mixed up.

"The Belfast City Councillors need to come out and explain to the people of east Belfast why they've done what they've done."

Mr Scott said the current situation could jeopardise votes in the future.

He said: "The whole problem is, we are trying to draw them (those young people in), as a unionist politician for young people  to get involved with the democratic system. We want them to come in and vote and start doing things. They will not do that because of the situation today, what has happened what the unionists politicians have done.

"They have ignored those young people."

Mr Scott added: "I'm an elected public representative and I believe in speaking my mind.

"I call on the UUP leader Robin Swann to get on to city councillors and tell them to explain what they are doing. And Arlene Foster to get on to her councillors and explain why your party has done what they have done. "

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