Bloomfield bonfire material removal '˜would be a regressive step', community group warns

The East Belfast Community Initiative has appealed to statutory agencies not to undermine positive work around bonfires.

Saturday, 7th July 2018, 1:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 6:43 pm
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In was responding to media reports that statutory agencies, with the assistance of the PSNI, intend to remove bonfire material from the Bloomfield Walkway site in east Belfast.

In a statement, a spokesman for the group said: “The East Belfast Community Initiative are aware of reports carried in today’s Irish News which alleges that moves will be made to remove material from the Walkway bonfire.

“This would undoubtedly be a regressive step and undermine all of the good work carried out to date. It is simply not tenable to believe that loyalists are going to move any further on this issue whilst under duress.

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“The Walkway bonfire was moved from the contentious car park and moved to the area the NIFRS advised was the safest in the vicinity.

“There is an agreed size for the bonfire, which is half the size it was last year. This is a substantial reduction in size. Once the bonfire reaches the agreed height the bonfire builders will self-regulate any remaining material and donate it to other bonfire sites.

“Such positive self-regulation will be severely undermined should statutory agencies try to force the movement of materials via duress.”

The EBCI added it has worked tirelessly to deliver a peaceful and enjoyable summer and remains committed to this end.

“It is our hope that others see such an outcome as the core objective and as such do not take any actions that would exacerbate tensions,” the statement continued.