Northern Ireland news

Belfast council 'can't make any exception' for cross-community run

A flyer for the north Belfast event, Run the Walls
Brendan Hughes

BELFAST City Council has said it "cannot make any exception" for a cross-community run which faces being halted over a lack of notice.

But the council said staff are working with organisers of 'Run the Walls' in north Belfast "to see if alternative arrangements can be made to facilitate this event".

It comes after SDLP councillor Paul McCusker hit out at the council and police over the issue, branding it "bureaucracy gone mad".

The 5km run, part of the Ardoyne and Marrowbone Community Festival, was due to take place on August 22.

Legislation introduced last September transferred to councils responsibility for handling road closures for sporting and community events.

Belfast City Council (BCC) said staff were made aware of the run late last Thursday.

It said legislation requires it to place a 21-day notice in local newspapers and consult other public bodies.

It also said a notice period of at least 12 weeks is needed to "allow sufficient time to process an application, and to make an order which restricts or prohibits traffic from using a public road for the holding of a special event".

"The closing of roads is a serious matter and the safety of runners is paramount and requires proper traffic management plans," a spokesman said.

"Council understands that this particular event will involve the closure of a number of main arterial routes in the city and this may impact upon the road-travelling public."

He added: "The council cannot make any exception for this or any other event. However council officers are working with the organisers to see if alternative arrangements can be made to facilitate this event."

PSNI chief inspector Kelly Moore said police made organisers aware of legislation requiring them to seek permission through the council.

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