Bonfire reappears at Cluan Place flashpoint interface

Loyalists in east Belfast have erected a makeshift bonfire next to a peace line '“ a week after a controversial pyre bonfire was forcibly removed by the authorities just yards away.

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 10:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th July 2018, 10:13 pm
Contractors were called in to remove the Cluan Place bonfire on July 11 following a High Court injunction

On the Eleventh afternoon masked contractors removed the bonfire at Cluan Place after it was deemed a “threat to life and property”, but now it has appeared again.

Last week a High Court Injunction was sought by Belfast City Council and granted at the 11th hour.

The next day the nearby Bloomfield Walkway bonfire was also dismantled, however not before it had been set alight as police and the contractors approached.

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On Thursday morning, a makeshift pyre out of scrap wood and leftover pallets from the Twelfth celebrations appeared in the area.

The new ‘bonfire’ was approximately 5.5 metres high on Thursday evening when it was photographed a few metres from the peace line.

Draped around the cross-shaped structure are two national flags, one of the Republic of Ireland and the other, the Union flag.

It is understood police, the Department for Infrastructure (whose land the Cluan Place pyre was on last week) and other bodies have been informed of the situation, which last week culminated in the UVF threatening “widespread disorder” in the east of the city. The Twelfth ultimately ended up relatively peaceful across the city, with only minor incidents of disorder reported.

On Thursday afternoon, crowds gathered sporadically in the area as citizens photographed the makeshift bonfire.

Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown said “any abuse” of anyone’s national symbol is wrong.

“I would urge the bonfire builders not to set these materials alight, in service of a more harmonious Belfast,” he said.

“Look at the damage you are doing to your own community. It’s wrong and needs to stop,” M McDonough-Brown added.

On Thursday night a PSNI spokesman said police “are aware of a small bonfire having been built in Cluan Place in east Belfast as part of a family fun day in the area”.