Northern Ireland

Housing Executive plans to remove material close to former Shankill bonfire site

Material dumped in the lower Shankill
Material dumped in the lower Shankill Material dumped in the lower Shankill

Bonfire material dumped in Belfast's lower Shankill close to where where an Eleventh Night blaze caused almost £100,000 worth of damage is to be removed, the Housing Executive has said.

Pallets, mattresses and three-piece suites have been accumulating over recent days within yards of Hopewell Square, where in July 2016 embers from a loyalist bonfire left two homes gutted and others badly damaged.

Among those in the houses at the time were 73-year-old Lily Turtle and her two-year-old great-granddaughter.

The repair bill for the Housing Executive homes damaged in the fire was £90,000.

A Housing Executive spokesperson told The Irish News that the public body was "aware of a recent issue with fly-tipping" the site and that the material would be removed.

"Our staff are currently engaging with the local community on the issue," the spokesperson said.

SDLP west Belfast representative Paul Doherty welcomed confirmation from the Housing Executive that the material was being treated as fly tipping. 

"Any bonfire in this area would pose a serious risk to public safety, given the large number of homes in the surrounding area," he said.

“I accept the significance of bonfires to the local community but the last thing anyone wants is to see a repeat of the scenes from 2016."