Police operation around bonfire removal cost £188k

Police spent almost £190,000 overseeing the removal of two controversial bonfires in Belfast, it has emerged.

Around 700 PSNI officers stood guard while council workers – who wore masks to protect their identities – removed material from bonfire sites at Bloomfield Walkway and Cluan Place in the east of the city on July 11.

General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire.  The east Belfast pyre was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced .  Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

General view of the Bloomfield Walkway bonfire. The east Belfast pyre was set alight hours after a court ordered its height to be reduced . Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

According to information obtained by BBC News NI, the policing operation at Bloomfied Walkway cost £121,457, while the operation at Cluan Place cost £67,261.

About £115,000 of the overall cost related to overtime paid to officers, the broadcaster reported.

The information was obtained through a Freedom of Information request submitted by the BBC.

The High Court ruled on July 10 that the Bloomfield bonfire should be reduced in size as it was a danger to surrounding homes. The massive pyre was lit prematurely as contractors moved in to try to dismantle it.

The Cluan Place bonfire was dismantled after it was deemed a “threat to life and property”.