Increasing numbers of NI bonfire groups reveal they will have celebration this year whilst withdrawing support for PSNI - see who they are

More loyalist bonfire groups have publicly withdrawn their support for the PSNI in public messages on social media.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 12:19 pm

They all roughly share the same message citing their disappointment at the PSNI’s handling of the Bobby Storey funeral as a reason for discontent.

In a post on Facebook, a message from North Down Defenders flute band - Northdown Defenders - say:

“Attention PSNI..

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A reveller at the 12th of July bonfire

“A number of loyalist groups in North Down and Ards already withdrew support from PSNI just over one week ago.

“Our Bonfire Groups fully supported this approach.

“Following the blatant and flagrant demonstration of two tier pro republican policing in relation to the criminal justice response to the funeral of Bobby Storey, and the shameless collusion between PSNI and the IRA, we as Bonfire Groups are firmly of the view that no loyalist group should be engaging with the PSNI in any shape or form.

“As such we wish to also make clear that we won’t be engaging with the PSNI in the lead up to the marching/bonfire season and nor will there be any cooperation with community or any other kind of policing.

Image on Northdown Defenders Facebook page

“This year there will be full traditional bonfires at Kilcooley Estate, Bloomfield Estate, Strand Avenue, Loughview Estate Holywood and Donaghadee. We encourage the community come together and commence building whenever they see fit.

“It is very clear the PSNI are little more than a tool of republicanism which is consistently weaponised against our community. Our bonfire group, like so many others, within the loyalist community have had enough.

“United we Stand”

Yesterday we reported a stark message delivered to the PSNI on social media from Moygashel Bonfire Association.

Similarly, in another post on Facebook Ballykeel (Ballymena) Bonfire page has posted:

“ATTENTION PSNI -THE DEAL IS OFF!

“Ballykeel bonfire will be going ahead with their 11th july bonfire this year.

“Each year ballykeel Bonfire Association liaise with the local community policing team to keep them informed of the schedule of events ahead.

“After careful consideration and the general feeling among the local community the bonfire team has made the decision NOT to engage with the PSNI on any level until confidence within the PUL community towards policing and justice has been restored.

“The continued threat of a return to violence by sinn fein/ira appears to hold them above the law and gives them a free rein to act as they please with no consequences.

“This is a very dangerous message to send out to young Loyalists!

“P.S.N.I.R.A OUT!!!!”

And in another post, Avoniel (East Belfast) Bonfire Facebook page has posted:

“ATTENTION PSNI -THE DEAL IS OFF!

“Avoniel bonfire will be going ahead with their 11th july bonfire this year.

“Each year Avoniel Bonfire Association liaise with the local community policing team to keep them informed of the schedule of events ahead.

“After careful consideration and the general feeling among the local community the bonfire team has made the decision NOT to engage with the PSNI on any level until confidence within the PUL community towards policing and justice has been restored.

“The continued threat of a return to violence by sinn fein/ira appears to hold them above the law and gives them a free rein to act as they please with no consequences.

“This is a very dangerous message to send out to young Loyalists!”

And in another post on Facebook Kells Bonfire page has posted: “This year we will be going ahead with having a bonfire, unfortunately last year we did not get the chance to have one but this year we’ll be back.

“With the PSNI turning their backs on the loyalist community and also the centenary year of Our Wee Country, it has to happen!

Meanwhile Newtownards Protestant Boys Facebook page has today posted: “West Winds bonfire group is withdrawing all support from the PSNI and wish to make clear there will be a traditional bonfire this year.

“It is clear that lockdown is over following the reality that the PSNI collusion with the IRA has been exposed.

“There will be no participation in any statutory schemes nor engagement with the PSNI at any level, including community policing.

“ We have had concerns for many years as to the republican agenda of the PSNI and we share the feelings of the entire unionist and loyalist community now that the full extent of PSNI-IRA collusion has been exposed.

“Whilst our communities are harassed, tortured and criminalised by the PSNI, they treat republicans like a protected species. We have had enough.

“No self respecting unionist or loyalist could possibly continue to support the PSNI. To do so would be to give cover to the harassment and oppression of our community dressed up as ‘policing’.

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty!”

And in another post on Facebook, Kells (outside Ballymena) bonfire posted: “This year we will be going ahead with having a bonfire, unfortunately last year we did not get the chance to have one but this year we’ll be back.

“With the PSNI turning their backs on the loyalist community and also the centenary year of Our Wee Country, it has to happen!

Meanwhile a post added today on Bushmills Bonfire Facebook page says: “After some consultation with the local community the Bushmills Bonfire committee have overwhelmingly decided to continue with this years 11th night bonfire celebrations... the committee have also decided to withdraw from all liaisons with the community policing team..

“ The psni have proven themselves time and time again to be sein fein ira’s personal police force and bully boys against the pul community..

“Loyalists have been constantly harassed and harangued while republicans have free reign to flought the law at will..

“Loyalists have lost all confidence in the psni.. Untill the psni rectify this mistreatment of loyalists then as a response we will continue to distance ourselves from this 2 tier republican force..

“We will finish by reminding the public to please remain safe and roll on 11th July ✊”

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