Northern Ireland news

Crane used to lift bonfire pallets near electricity substation

A crane was used to help build a bonfire near Roden Street in west Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Connla Young

LOYALISTS have used a large industrial crane at a bonfire site in Belfast.

The crane was spotted helping to lift pallets onto a pyre close to the Westlink on Saturday morning.

The huge bonfire is built on waste ground close to an electricity sub station near the loyalist Roden Street area.

It is understood the cost of hiring a crane can run into hundreds of pounds per day depending on the size of the equipment and length of time it is used.

The firm that owns the crane said it was used without its permission and it is investigating.

It said it has a depot in Belfast and does business across the city as well as on both sides of the border.

Sinn Féin councillor JJ Magee said he witnessed pallets being hoisted by the crane.

“This is close to a sub-station and housing and by the look of things the health and safety manual was thrown out the window,” he said.

A spokeswoman for NIE Networks said "emergency crews and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service have visited and assessed the site to ensure that the bonfire is located a safe distance from the substation".

"Smoke and heat from bonfires can cause damage to electricity equipment," she said.

"Our concern is for the general public and our role is to protect and maintain the electricity supply being fed to the customers in the local area.

"We would urge all communities to stay safe by staying well away from overhead electricity lines and equipment.”

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