Northern Ireland news

'No funding, no surrender' bonfire did apply for funding

Ulster Unionist MP Danny Kinahan posted the photo on Twitter
Brendan Hughes

A LOYALIST bonfire that displayed a tricolour and sign saying 'no funding, no surrender' had initially signed up to a council funding scheme.

But the Ladyhill group in Antrim pulled out of the initiative just four days before the Eleventh Night.

Its bonfire caused controversy over the Twelfth after an MP posted a photo on Twitter of himself at the pyre while it bore a tricolour.

Ulster Unionist Danny Kinahan later apologised for the picture, and said the flag was removed from the bonfire before it was lit.

It also bore a large sign saying "no funding, no culture erosion, no surrender", apparently a reference to not joining this year's bonfire management programme.

The Antrim and Newtownabbey council scheme offers up to £2,700 for related family events in exchange for groups not using tyres and other environmentally harmful materials.

Nearly half of the eligible community groups failed to join this year's funding initiative, which introduced tighter spending controls.

It came after The Irish News last year exposed a series of problems with the scheme operated under the old Antrim Borough Council.

However, despite its 'no funding' sign, Ladyhill was one of the groups that did initially agree to take part in the new scheme.

A spokeswoman for Antrim and Newtownabbey council said: "Ladyhill and Tannaghmore initially signed up to the council's new bonfire management programme.

"However, on the July 7 2016 the group contacted the council to advise that they were withdrawing from the programme and did not wish to avail of any support.

"The provisional bookings made for this site including inflatables were cancelled at no cost to the council."

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