Northern Ireland news

BBC presenter's shock at loyalist bonfires

Stacey Dooley watches as the massive Bloomfield bonfire in east Belfast is lit on Eleventh Night
Staff Reporter

BROADCASTER Stacey Dooley has told of her shock that loyalist bonfires are allowed in Northern Ireland.

The BBC presenter visited the Bloomfield bonfire in east Belfast in the run-up to the Eleventh Night, speaking to the builders and community workers.

“There’s no way on earth you’d be allowed to do this in England, you’d be in so much trouble,” she said afterwards.

The 30-year-old visited Northern Ireland to make a documentary about the DUP’s deal to support Theresa May's Conservative government.

Stacey Dooley Investigates: The Billion Pound Party was made available on the BBC iPlayer yesterday.

The series investigates current affairs issues affecting young people around the world.

The Bloomfield Walkway bonfire gained significant media attention because of fears it would damage nearby homes and a church.

Ms Dooley asked one of the bonfire builders why they were placing an Irish tri-colour on the pyre.

“Burning the Irish flag is like burning an ISIS flag,” he said.

“The IRA live under the Irish flag… the IRA and ISIS are the exact same, both kill innocent people for nothing.”

Later the broadcaster said she was shocked at the comparison.

“Some of it is very shocking… the comparison with the ISIS flag and the Irish flag was very uncomfortable,” she told viewers.

Later, when she came across another smaller bonfire, she was surprised that fire fighters were cooling down nearby buildings and not simply putting out the fire.

“This seems a bit ridiculous,” she said.

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