Bonfire Builders blaze trail.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Bonfire Builders blaze trail. thumbnailA copy of the Letter

BONFIRE builders in the Killymerron Park area of Dungannon have taken the unprecedented step of sending a letter to every resident listing various measures they will take to ensure the bonfire is safe and enjoyable for all in future.

The Killymerron Bonfire Group has issued the letter to every house in the area, confirming they will be greatly reducing the size of the bonfire in future and will self-regulate in various other ways.

Among the measures they have pledged to take will be to

"put in place a traffic management arrangement to ensure clear access"

for all, to ensure the estate is

"litter picked and left clean and tidy",

to look at the possibility of installing fencing around the bonfire as it is built

"to prevent the unwanted dumping of hazardous materials"

and to continue to liaise with various public bodies in relation to the bonfire ar rangements.

Damage has been caused to properties in the area in previous years, with houses being hosed down by firefighters in the estate in 2016. That was not necessary in 2017, but firefighters were on stand-by should there have been a repeat.

The incident gave rise to debates at Mid-Ulster Council, with nationalist members expressing their desire to see bonfires on Council property being subject to a licensing system at a meeting last summer

In their letter to residents, the Killymerron Bonfire Group accepted that "during our annual Bonfire Celebrations last year a number of homes were significantly damaged".

They continued: "We, the Bonfire builders, deeply regret that homes were damaged and recognise the enormous stress and suffering this brought to the home owners affected."

Bonfire builders stated that they acknowledged the size of the bonfire had been in part responsible for this, while other factors "included traffic management in the estate and wind direction".

They said that "since the block of flats was built in the neighbouring Cloisters development, we have noticed a change in the wind directions".

And this initiative has been welcomed by DUP Councillor for Dungannon, Clement Cuthbertson.

He said: "Residents of Killymerron Park will be all too aware of the damage caused to properties last year, resulting in enormous distress for the affected residents.

"This letter is, I believe, a really positive step by the bonfire group in Killymerron. Any proposed moves to make the bonfire safer has to be welcome news. I would congratulate the group on taking the initiative to consider ways to improve safety.

"Everyone agrees that the bonfire last year, due to its extreme height, was out of control. To propose to, as the letter states, 'significantly reduce the height' will no doubt reduce the risks involved.

Engagement with bonfire groups across the whole area should be the approach adopted by Mid-Ulster Council.

"This will achieve a safe, positive outcome for all, rather than producing a negative outcome where communities are polarised and feel that their culture is being put under threat."


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