Controversial east Belfast bonfire to be moved

A loyalist bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway in east Belfast last year
Connla Young

THE location of a controversial bonfire in east Belfast is set to be moved.

East Belfast Community Initiative (EBCI) last night said the decision to move the Bloomfield Walkway fire came after agreement was reached with bonfire builders.

The bonfire, which is near the Newtownards Road, has been at the centre of controversy last year after it emerged that Belfast City Council had stored pallets which were due to be used on the pyre.

It was later included in an injunction obtained by the council stopping new material being added to fires at four different sites.

The development comes after Mid-Ulster District Council voted in recent month to introduce a licensing scheme for bonfires located on its land - a move that has sparked anger with some unionists.

A statement issued by the EBCI last night said it “believes in the principle of positive self-regulation and following protracted consultation with local bonfire builders and DUP councillor George Dorrian, this positive agreement has been secured”.

The statement said the “bonfire will move away from the contentious area to a safe space and the height of the bonfire will be such that it will not endanger the homes of any members of our community”.

EBCI spokesman Jamie Bryson said the agreement “demonstrates the productivity of self-regulation”.

“No unionist worth their salt is ever going to be regulated in their cultural expression by statutory agencies,” he said.

“Self-regulation in order to advance our core purpose of enhancing and protecting unionist cultural expression is the only way to resolve contentious issues.”

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