Northern Ireland

Eleventh Night bonfires: Concerns raised about close proximity of two pyres to busy Belfast arterial routes

Hundreds of pallets have been placed on the bonfires in south Belfast

The Village bonfire close to the Westlink.
The bonfire is located close to the busy Westlink

Concerns have been raised about the close proximity of two bonfires to arterial routes in Belfast.

Just days before the annual Eleventh Night bonfires are lit, there are fears about the closeness of a pyre, located just off the Donegall Road, to the busy Westlink.

The Village bonfire close to the Westlink.
The bonfire is located in the Donegall Road area

Hundreds of pallets have been erected in the Monarch Street area, which lies within a short distance from the arterial Belfast route that is used by tens of thousands of motorists every day.

There are also understood to be concerns about its close proximity to a number of nearby houses.

The bonfire has yet to reach its full height with builders continuing to work on it yesterday.

Meanwhile, there has also been criticism of the annual pyre at Milltown Road, on Shaw’s Bridge.

The Bonfire on Shaws Bridge in South Belfast
The bonfire on Shaw's Bridge in south Belfast

Hundreds of pallets have also been placed on an area of land close to the main road.

The route is also used by thousands of motorists daily.

The Bonfire on Shaws Bridge in South Belfast
Hundreds of pallets have been placed on the pyre

While fencing has been erected around the pyre on Milltown Road, there are health and safety concerns, including its proximity to the main road.



SDLP councillor Donal Lyons said: “Not only would I be concerned about its closeness to the road, but also it destroys the same area of green space every year.

“The Department of Infrastructure have worked hard to create these green spaces for residents in the area and yet it will be destroyed once again.

“Not only is it dangerous, but we will also need the road resurfaced afterwards, which will be at a cost to the local tax-payer.

The Bonfire on Shaws Bridge in South Belfast
The bonfire on Shaw's Bridge in south Belfast

“We see this again and again and it is problematic.

“This bonfire has fallen onto the road previously, it was also set alight early for whatever reason.

“I would be concerned about its closeness to the road and the fact also that it’s an eyesore for tens of thousands of people passing through the area.”

Mr Lyons also voiced criticism about a number of paramilitary flags placed on the bonfire.

SDLP councillor Donal Lyons. Picture by Mark Marlow/PA
SDLP councillor Donal Lyons

“There are also paramilitary trappings, the presence of UDA flags,” he added.

“This is also problematic and gives a real chill factor, particularly for the residents of Belvoir and Minnowburn who do not want to see this.”