ALLIANCE Councillor Geraldine Rice has condemned a loyalist attack on SDLP Assembly member Carmel Hanna at a bonfire site at Milltown Road, Shaw’s Bridge on Tuesday.
Cllr Rice stated: “This stone-throwing sectarian attack on an elected representative was completely uncalled for and I condemn it without reservation. No-one deserves to be treated like that.
“Castlereagh needs alternatives to bonfires, and community grants for a more inclusive celebration or community barbecue could possibly be used to encourage a more responsible approach.
“Sadly, people continue to dump rubbish from March, and that creates a health hazard. It is people from the community where the bonfire is situated that suffers most, with elderly people and pet owners suffering most when the fire is eventually lit.
“It cost around £15,000 to repair the road at Shaw’s Bridge last year. Bonfires are getting bigger every year, collections are beginning earlier and this is creating a bigger mess every year – at greater expense to ratepayers.
“I understand that loyalists at Shaw’s Bridge were invited to come forward with ideas about how to improve the situation, which could have benefited the entire community, but there was no response.
“Eleventh Night celebrations have the potential to become a more positive celebration. However, it appears that some groups are going out of their way to irritate the public and destroy the environment.”