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Injunction could signal the end of controversial bonfires

THERE were hopes last night that unprecedented legal action by Belfast city council could signal an end to large-scale bonfires across the north.

An injunction has been granted to stop further material being added to four bonfires on council-owned property in east Belfast.

The surprise move follows concerns about the scale of some pyres and the proximity to homes and businesses.

There has also been criticism of the council since The Irish News revealed that it has been storing pallets for some bonfires at ratepayers' expense.

There was no immediate response last night from unionist politicians ahead of the potentially volatile Twelfth week.

However, Sinn Féin said the council should go further and clear all four sites of bonfire material.

Jim McVeigh said; "Some of these fires are already far too big and cause a significant risk to nearby property.

"The council has employed a contractor to remove material from sites and those workers should now be given police protection to do their job", he added.

Jamie Bryson, who was at the forefront of the loyalist flag protests, said the move was "inflammatory, it is dangerous and it is a gross breach of faith".

PSNI Superintendent Robert Murdie said "Police are aware that Belfast City Council has taken out a civil junction in relation to bonfires.

"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", he added.

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