Departmental bonfire injunction welcomed by Long

Alliance Councillor Michael Long has welcomed the injunction granted to Belfast City Council against the Department for Infrastructure, requiring action to be taken to reduce the height of the bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway to a maximum of three metres.

Speaking after the granting of the injunction, Alliance Group Leader in City Hall Mr Long said: “Whilst I am glad the Department will now have to act to protect residents’ homes and lives, I regret this court action was ever necessary.

“There has been a huge investment of time and energy in mediation to encourage those building this fire to voluntarily reduce its size in line with fire safety guidance.

“As late as last night, all parties signed up to a cross-party statement, appealing to those involved to reduce the bonfire themselves in order to protect property and lives. however, regrettably they ignored those pleas and continued to build.

“We were left with no option but to pursue an injunction in order to protect local people, who have been contacting us over recent weeks in increasing distress and fear for their homes and their lives, which were being placed at risk. It would have been entirely wrong for the Council to abandon them and local council facilities to be destroyed. That view was vindicated by the judge who said it was entirely proper for the Council to bring the case.

“We would still prefer those who built this bonfire would act voluntarily, respect the wishes of local residents and the view of the courts and remove the material: however, it is now up to the Department for Infrastructure to ensure action is taken to keep residents and neighbouring properties safe if that does not happen.”
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