Belfast City Council has been granted a High Court injunction to stop people from accessing four bonfires sites in east Belfast.
It says the move is to prevent the delivery of bonfire material and was prompted by concerns for public safety.
The injunction which has been posted at bonfire sites at Ravenscroft Avenue car park / Bloomfield Walkway, Avoniel Leisure Centre car park, Inverary Playing Fields and Cregagh Park East informs those attempting to enter the sites that they could be fined or face prison.
Police are aware of the injunction but say it is a civil matter. They are not currently enforcing the injunction at the four sites.
Superintendent Robert Murdie said “We are committed to working with Belfast City Council to tackle the issues surrounding bonfires in east Belfast and the wider city through effective partnership working and in consultation with the communities affected by these issues.”
“We have now written to the Council with regard to the details of the injunction – and so it would be inappropriate to comment further ahead of their response.”
A press photographer who visited the bonfire site at Cregagh Park East last night observed that the material already gathered for the bonfire had been fenced off but saw no signs of the injunction which by law should be displayed at the site.
After Belfast City Council announced yesterday it had been granted the powers to ban people from the sites, loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson predicted ‘chaos’.
Mr Bryson claimed on Twitter he had been proven right in his long-held assertion that councils were trying to use bonfire schemes to eradicate bonfires and that the matter would end in court.
He predicted that the injunction “will – as it most certainly should – be breached”.
He also commented: “Belfast City Council have, via their actions in the High Court, opened the door to chaos.”
Sinn Fein’s Jim McVeigh welcomed the injunction and suggested council should go a step further.
Mr McVeigh said: “The gathering and storing of materials has disrupted the use of some of these sites and by burning these large pyres council property would be further destroyed. It is now critically important that the PSNI and Belfast City Council act upon these injunctions to ensure that the dangerous material already gathered at these sites is safely removed in order to protect the people, homes and property in the vicinity of these illegal bonfires.”