Northern Ireland

11 Belfast groups to receive 11th Night beacons under council scheme

A cage to hold an 11th Night beacon in Belfast.
A cage to hold an 11th Night beacon in Belfast. A cage to hold an 11th Night beacon in Belfast.

ELEVEN areas in Belfast are to have beacons in place of bonfires for 11th Night celebrations under a council scheme.

Details which emerged from a Belfast City Council committee meeting show 11 groups in the city have applied to participate in the programme to replace traditional eleventh night bonfires with more environmentally friendly beacons containing material including willow wood.

The programme will cost a minimum of £81,103, significantly higher than the £72,000 budget allocation for the beacon programme announced last month.

At Monday's full council meeting, elected members ratified a decision by the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee to cover the extra money from a £47,745 underspend on the council’s summer bonfire diversionary fund.

Read more:Boat appears on top of Co Tyrone bonfire

The Stormont Executive Office had already committed £15,000 to the council beacon programme.

The 15-year old beacon scheme is open only to constituted community and voluntary groups in Northern Ireland.

In April, council officers contacted the eight groups that had received beacons in 2022, as well as four others that had expressed an interest this year, to determine if they wished to be placed on the list. Two groups confirmed they did not require a beacon.

The council report states: “As (was) the case in 2022, mitigations would need to be put in place at the Brown Square and White City sites, and the report on the Grove Street East site would, as previously, advise that there was potential for significant damage due to the distance factor.”

Read more: What are eleventh night bonfires?

A request from the Action for Community Transformation group for a beacon to replace a traditional pyre at Shankill Terrace and California Close brought the expected 10 beacon figure to 11, and accounts for the bigger budget requirement.

The locations for beacons instead of Belfast bonfires on the eleventh night are: the Haig Street/Lord Street Junction, the Clara Street/Ravensdale Street junction, Grove Street East/Channing Street, the Highspring Avenue green area off Black Mountain Grove, White City, and the hard ground area at the Ainsworth Avenue end of Ceylon Street.

They will also be found at Ballysillan Park facing Wheatfield Drive, Brown Square in the middle of the road at the bottom of Melbourne Street, on the mound in the green space across from Trassey Close in Cregagh Estate, 2 Auburn Place Dunmurry, and Shankill Terrace/California Close.