Northern Ireland news

Bonfire builders collecting wood, four months ahead of the Eleventh Night

Pallets and tyres being collected waste ground in the Shankill area near the peaceline at Cupar Way Picture Mal McCann.

BONFIRE builders have started collecting wood, four months ahead of the Eleventh Night.

Collections of wood pallets and tyres have been already been spotted in west Belfast in recent days.

The collections have been dumped on waste ground in the Shankill area of the city, close to the peace-line at Cupar Way.

The early appearance of the bonfire material comes just days after a report on Belfast City Council's controversial storage of bonfire pallets was discussed by councillors.

The council last summer appointed former Northern Ireland Ombudsman Tom Frawley to examine its storage of wooden pallets for loyalist bonfire builders.

It came after the The Irish News revealed that the council was storing pallets at ratepayers' expense, prompting anger from some councillors who said they were not consulted.

Around 2,500 pallets were held last year for east Belfast's Walkway area and around 300 for a pyre near a city centre hotel – and were due to be returned before the Eleventh Night.

The internal report was discussed at a special meeting of the council's strategic policy and resources committee earlier this week and is due to go before the full council for discussion next month.

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