The Alliance group leader on Newtownabbey Borough Council was speaking after Unionist Councillors gave the go-ahead for a major refurbishment of the bonfire’s site, allowing it to go ahead later this year.
Councillor Billy Webb said: “Eleventh night bonfires are an important cultural tradition for many and Alliance does not have a problem with the bonfire taking place – but this must not be at the expense of the whole community.
“Last year the Ballyduff bonfire made headlines after concerns arose over safety, however in the past year little work has been done by all the agencies involved to find a solution acceptable to all.
“The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the PSNI, Newtownabbey Council and the Housing Executive – who own the land – should have been consulted further on how to best improve the event for the benefit of all.
“But instead Unionist Councillors agreed to an expensive environmental scheme. And while this is still subject to a community consultation, it is only the Ballyduff community which is set to be consulted – despite all ratepayers paying the £30,000 needed.”