Northern Ireland news

Pallets removed again from notorious loyalist bonfire site in east Belfast

Pallets at Bloomfield Walkway in east Belfast on Monday, and right, the scene the following day
Brendan Hughes

MORE pallets have been removed from a notorious loyalist bonfire site in east Belfast.

Officials spent a second consecutive morning yesterday clearing pallets from Bloomfield Walkway after more were dumped on the site.

Concerns have been raised that the pallets are being collected "much too early" for a July pyre.

The bonfire site has been a source of controversy for several years.

Last July masked contractors were sent to remove the pyre flanked by police at a cost to taxpayers of more than £120,000.

The Bloomfield Walkway after pallets were set alight. Picture by Hugh Russell

A High Court judge had ordered Stormont officials to intervene after hearing that "sinister forces" in the east Belfast UVF controlled the towering pyre and it posed a serious threat to nearby homes.

Stacks of wooden pallets had been gathered in recent days at the bonfire site.

The pallets were removed on Tuesday after being set alight overnight, with firefighters called to the scene three times.

More pallets were spotted strewn at the site yesterday, but officials and representatives in the area moved in to clear them.

Stacks of pallets at Bloomfield Walkway in east Belfast on Monday

A Belfast City Council spokesman yesterday said: "Council has this morning worked with Department for Infrastructure as the landowner, elected members and community representatives to remove materials from this site."

Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson has said "local agreement" has been reached that there "will not be any substantial large bonfire on the Walkway this year".

He said an "alternative site" has been identified, and any pyre at the Walkway this July would be a "small token bonfire" incorporated into a children's party.

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