The bonfire at Adam Street has been the focus of a great deal of attention and commentary, much of it ill-informed.
Understanding the local geography of the area is very important and key to a proper understanding of what is really going on.
Where the bonfire is located is not an interface. An interface as I understand it, is a site or location that the two traditions face one another without barriers, and that would be the North Queen Street and Duncairn Gardens junction where there is no bonfire.
Where the Adam Street bonfire is located, a peace wall separates the New Lodge and Tigers Bay communities. This is a physical barrier that separates the predominantly republican New Lodge area from the mainly loyalist and unionist community of Tigers Bay.
This bonfire is therefore not on an interface as has been claimed, but rather is inside a unionist/loyalist community where it is welcomed and supported by local people.
It is important to deal in facts. The bonfire is approximately 60-80 feet away from the peace wall. The pyre is made entirely of pallets and has no tyres on or in it. The pyre is also significantly smaller than it has been in recent years and is likely to burn out in a matter of hours.
There also needs to be a recognition that Tigers Bay is not a problem community - it is a community with problems and of course just like its neighbours is home to a handful of individuals that would agitate and/or retaliate to violence.
The overwhelming majority of people — on both sides — simply want peace and to live their lives and raise their families in a normal environment.
Peace does not mean the sanitisation or eradication of one another’s culture. It does not mean the absence of parades, bonfires or displays of unionist and loyalist heritage and culture.
Tolerance and mutual respect are just meaningless words, unless you are prepared to tolerate and show respect to things you do not like.
I believe that certain politicians and community leaders would be better served promoting tolerance for a diverse society rather than reacting to and reinforcing a divided one.
A lot of hard and often challenging work has taken place in and between these two communities, led by these communities and not their political leaders, to find common ground and foster better relations.
I’m concerned that political manoeuvring, posturing and intervention as we have witnessed recently, could hinder or worse reverse some of those local successes.
One of which, ironically, was to reduce the height of the peace wall at Duncairn Gardens.
Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston is an Ulster Unionist Party representative in north Belfast