Bonfire licence rejection ‘a rare case of common sense in face of pan-nationalist front’

The TUV has heartily welcomed what it called a “rare example of common sense” from Belfast City Council – namely, its rejection of a plan which would have imposed a raft of paperwork upon bonfire-builders.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 9:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:32 am
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/07/2020 Belfast council workers clean up this morning after last night's bonfire at Pitt Park on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

The motion from Sinn Fein (backed by the SDLP) would have meant that any bonfires on council land would be subject to a number of requirements, including drawing up a police / fire safety plan, getting insurance, acquiring a licence from the council, and more.

In the end, the unionist contingent on the council, backed by Alliance and Greens, opted to reject Sinn Fein’s motion.

The TUV, which does not have any councillors in Belfast (although it used to), was nonetheless the first party to issue a statement in the wake of the vote.

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The statement, in the name of TUV North Belfast Assembly candidate Ron McDowell, said: “Tonight, in a rare example of common sense, the city council rightly rejected the pan-nationalist assault on loyalist cultural expression. That is welcome.

“The result of the vote tonight should not, however, obscure the reality of the nationalist agenda.

“It is quite clear that while nationalism likes to talk about shared space they would, given the opportunity, deny any space for visible Unionism and loyalism in our capital city.

“Unionists who have suffered at the hands of IRA terrorism will treat Sinn Fein’s professed concern for public safety with the contempt it deserves.

“The preposterous proposals which have been knocked back this evening threatened to create enormous tension across the city as I believe that any such diktat would have been ignored by people who have celebrated their culture peacefully for generations.

“Far from nationalists seeking to build community relations and address genuine concerns about bonfires this foolish motion has only exacerbated tensions which were already high.

“I am far from alone in believing that tonight’s nonsense was nothing short of an attempt to goad the Loyalists of Belfast in order to provoke a reaction. It is to the credit of the community that these efforts have, to date, been unsuccessful.”

For full details of the vote, click here.

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