Wednesday, 9 August 2017

COUNCIL BONFIRE CLAMPDOWN BID thumbnailMid-Ulster District Council is to meet to discuss rogue materials on bonfires locally.

Mid-Ulster set to follow Belfast City Council in tackling 'materials' on sites.


A CONTROVERSIAL decision taken by Belfast City Council to tackle bonfires could soon be repeated in Mid-Ulster.

The nationalist controlled Council's Environment Committee Chair, Sinn Fein's Cllr Ronan McGinley, has accepted a request from a party colleague to convene a special meeting to tackle the issue of what they describe as "rogue bonfires".

A Belfast Council motion gave their staff or contractors permission to remove bonfire materials from bonfire sites owned by the Council, other public bodies and those on private ground.

The move has prompted anger from unionist politicians and loyalists.

Sinn Fein Mid-Ulster Councillor Brian McGuigan said the move was necessary as "despite our best efforts to mitigate the problems... illegal practices continue".

He said the continued situation "is unacceptable".

Mid-Ulster Council has established a bonfire working group in the past number of months, although the DUP had opted not to take part in the group, rejecting the necessity of it The special meeting will be held on Thursday, 17th August in Cookstown Council Offices.

In bringing forward his proposal to hold the meeting, Cllr McGuigan said: "We have been liaising with all public bodies through a cross-party bonfire working group.

"Despite our best efforts to mitigate the problems associated with a number of them, illegal practices continue and are having serious detrimental impacts to the quality of life of many residents within our district. As Sinn Féin Councillors, we feel this is unacceptable.

"I have requested a special meeting of the Council's Environment Committee to ensure everything is being done to reduce risk to ratepayers as a result of illegal activity." His proposal was accepted by the Chair of the Environment Committee, Councillor Ronan McGinley.

He said: "After receiving correspondence from Cllr McGuigan, I feel it's appropriate to hold a meeting to discuss a number of issues he has raised.

"We need to explore a number of areas, including the need to investigate the financial costs incurred, clarification of risk assessments and public liability, and also to ensure that, as a council, we are reducing risk in line with our responsibilities."


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