Northern Ireland

Return of bonfire builder’s den dubbed ‘hut of hate’

Violent, sectarian and Nazi images were displayed last year

The bonfire builders hut at Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre. NO BYLINE
The bonfire builders hut at Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre

A loyalist bonfire builders’ den branded the ‘hut of hate’ after violent, sectarian and Nazi images were displayed has returned to a pyre site close to a £20 million leisure facility in east Belfast.

The wooden structure, built from pallets, appeared on the site in recent weeks and is close to Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre, which is owned by Belfast City Council.

A bonfire made from pallets is also under construction at the controversial site.

It is close to two modern 4G playing pitches which cost £300,000 to install.

A hut used by bonfire builders at Lisnasharragh Liesure Centre
A hut used by bonfire builders at Lisnasharragh Liesure Centre in 2023

Offensive images were put on display in a builder’s hut at the site last year.

The hut was later removed.

Images from the site reveal that to date no offensive material has appeared at the recently constructed hut.

However, a flag bearing an image of crouching masked man holding a rocket launcher has been hung from a nearby lamppost.

Last year the hut contained a similar flag bearing the same image and including the words ‘Clonduff Rocket Team’.

It is understood this is the name used by a local gang of youths based around the nearby Clonduff estate.

The letters UVF were etched onto a makeshift table while inches away a Swastika made from tape was stuck to the wooden frame.

A flag dedicated to the 36th (Ulster) Division, which fought against Germany in World War One and was mainly comprised of original UVF members, was also hung in the hut just feet away from the Nazi tribute.

Nearby the letters KAT, ‘Kill All Taigs’, were scrawled onto a sofa along with an obscene image.

The bonfire builders hut at Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre. NO BYLINE
Pallets at a bonfire site in east Belfast

SDLP councillor Séamas de Faoite said he has raised concerns “about issues at Clonduff for some time”.

“After the farce of last year I asked for the site to be secured so that Belfast ratepayers would not be expected to meet the cost for further unreasonable damage,” he said.

“To date that has yet to happen.

“I would hope that calmer heads can prevail at Clonduff, and take example from other places in east Belfast like Cregagh or Orangefield, where positive efforts have been made to address things like the sectarian burning of flags, posters and emblems.”

A spokesman for Belfast City Council said: “Belfast City Council is aware of bonfire materials being gathered on our land close to Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre.

“Our approach to managing bonfires is led by elected members.

“A member-led decision-making process has been agreed to consider issues and make decisions on a site-by-site basis.

“We continue to engage with elected members and community representatives to minimise any potential negative impact of bonfires and associated anti-social behaviour on local residents, businesses, customers and property.”