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Latest Fire Service Moygashel bonfire statement ‘somewhat different to their initial claims’

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

THE Fire Service's latest statement regarding the Eleventh Night bonfire in Moygashel has brought "some degree of clarity" and is "somewhat different" to the initial claims made on the radio the following morning.
That is the view of Dungannon DUP Councillor Clement Cuthbertson.
Starkly conflicting reports emerged following the cultural celebration in the village, with the NIFRS (Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service) claiming they had come under attack, while these claims were strongly rejected by many of those in attendance.
A statement issued by the NIFRS to the Courier last week reaffirmed their claims that they did come under attack.
On one occasion, they said, a firefighter was struck in the leg with a bottle and, at another stage, a bottle was hurled at a fire engine.
Councillor Cuthbertson has condemned such incidents, while expressing concern at the greater level of gravity ascribed to the activity on the night in a radio programme on BBC Radio Ulster on the Twelfth morning than he believed to be justified.
He said: "The latest statement from the NIFRS provides some degree of clarity on alleged incidents during the Eleventh Night Moygashel cultural celebrations.
“If the updated report is correct, I would totally condemn this incident and indeed any attacks in general on any of our blue light services.
“The two isolated incidents now described by the Fire Service are somewhat different to the initial report on the Good Morning Ulster radio programme, on the Twelfth morning.
“That report stated that 'Moygashel was particularly challenging' and they were attacked with 'stones and bottles'.
“Regrettably, this initial report gave the false impression that they came under an orchestrated and sustained attack."
Cllr Cuthbertson said he has met with senior members of the Fire Service and the engagement between bonfire builders and fire officers will continue in future years.
He also said that, having attended the bonfire himself, the proceedings were significantly quieter than had been reported.
“I have met with Senior Fire Officers and assured them that no one was questioning their actual operational response on the night - their support and assistance was vital," said Cllr Cuthbertson.
“The community has always engaged well with the Fire Service, this year that engagement was actually increased, something that will continue in the future.
“When I arrived at the event, I witnessed many of the fire officers standing out talking to the public in a relaxed manner and there was absolutely no feeling of anything remotely 'challenging'.
“This version of events is echoed by the Police reports that they had an incident free night. It would be very disappointing if the Senior NIFRS Command Officers received an exaggerated report of what actually happened on the night."

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