Lavery calls for bonfire builders to remove or reduce it

Alliance Councillor Peter Lavery has called for builders of a bonfire posing a serious risk to people and property in Portadown to removed or reduce it before it causes damage to property or injury to residents.

The bonfire, in the Corcrain Drive/Redmanville area of the town, is close to several blocks of flats and other properties. The South Ulster Housing Association recently wrote to residents, offering alternative overnight accommodation at a local youth hostel for the night the blaze is due to be lit.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Councillor Mr Lavery said the builders of the pyre could still exercise responsibility by removing it before it is set alight tomorrow (Wednesday).

“The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has determined there is a serious health and safety risk to residents and their property, which is extremely worrying,” he said.

“However, despite Alliance and others raising our concerns for some time now, the Council has now decided not to intervene, given the timeframe for safe removal has now passed.

“Our preferred solution was for the bonfire to be reduced or removed but that window has now closed. Alliance supports positive, respectful and safe expressions of culture. However, that is clearly not the case with this bonfire, which puts residents and their homes at direct risk. That is unacceptable.

“I call on the builders of this bonfire to exercise responsibility and recognise the impact this may cause. They need to reduce the bonfire dramatically or remove it entirely. In addition, it is vital plans are put in place early so this is not repeated next year. We cannot have an ongoing situation where the priority is protection of bonfire materials causing a danger rather than protection of people.”