Belfast Telegraph

Weather puts dampener on controversial makeshift east Belfast bonfire

By Andrew Madden, Local Democracy reporter

Loyalists in east Belfast set fire to a makeshift bonfire next to a peace line on Thursday night - however the wet weather resulted in little fanfare.

The pyre, around six metres high and made of leftover wood from the Twelfth, was erected at Cluan Place on Thursday a week after a controversial bonfire was forcibly removed by the authorities just yards away.

Last week, a High Court Injunction was granted which saw the nearby Bloomfield Walkway bonfire also dismantled, however not before it had been set alight as police and the contractors approached.

Draped around the structure was Ireland’s national flag, resulting in swift condemnation from local councillors on Thursday evening.

There can be no place for dangerous bonfires and no excuse for the abuse of anybody's national flag,” SDLP City Hall leader Tim Attwood said.

On Thursday police said they were aware of the situation and there was to be a “family fun day” in the area. Despite pleas from City Hall reps, the pyre was set alight some time on Thursday night/Friday morning.

Last week, tensions in east Belfast over the High Court Injunction culminated in the UVF threatening “widespread disorder” in the area.

However, Twelfth celebrations ended up relatively peaceful across the city, with only minor incidents of disorder reported to the PSNI.

By Friday afternoon, all that was left of the ‘bonfire’ was a small pile of ashes and scorch marks on the pavement.

Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown said he was disappointed the pyre was set alight, but the lack of any disorder as a result of the incident “shows the city doesn’t want this”.

“After the interventions made by DfI and PSNI previously it is disappointing that another attempt was made to light a bonfire in Cluan Place,” he added.

“The risk to property and life can't be overlooked particularly in confined spaces and I'd encourage people to reflect on the damage these acts can cause to their community and neighbours"

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