Pressure is mounting on authorities to take action to dismantle the interface bonfire
PRESSURE is mounting on authorities to take action to dismantle an interface bonfire – after another contentious pyre has been removed.
Police-backed contractors intervened around 2 a.m. yesterday to bring down the Eleventh Night bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway in east Belfast.
The move seems to indicate that other measures will soon follow elsewhere in the city.
A site north of Belfast is now in the spotlight.
The SDLP said it is “adamant” that there cannot be a bonfire at a land interface under the responsibility of Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon.
At a meeting of the Police Council, Sinn Féin MPP Gerry Kelly raised the issue of its construction near the peace line at Duncairn Gardens, between the areas of New Lodge and Tiger’s Bay.
He claimed it had been used as a platform for throwing golf balls from the loyalist side of the division at nationalist homes, in some cases by smashing windows or damaging cars.
His party colleague, City Councilor JJ Magee, urged the PSNI to act to “end anti-social behavior” at the Adam Street site.
He requested that the bonfire be moved away from its location, which he said was meant to increase tensions in the community.
“There has been unrest, houses attacked and windows smashed and the residents who live on the interface are living in fear,” he said.
“The bonfire has become a magnet for anti-social behavior and now, in addition to the attacks and intimidation, loud music is played and crowds gather late at night.
“The behaviors associated with this bonfire are not cultural, have nothing to do with culture and crime and the resulting anti-social behaviors must be combated.”
It is believed to be one of the top three bonfire sites that PSNI say cause concern.
Bloomfield Walkway was another of these, while the third would be built near a fire station in Newtownards.
It is feared that it will endanger life and property and interfere with firefighters on duty.
The police cannot suppress bonfires but can help contractors employed by landowners dismantle them. So far, the education organization that owns the Newtownards site has said it has “no plans” to dismantle the bonfire.