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Housing Executive Spend Over £67,000 Cleaning Bonfire Sites - Cllr Dessie Ward

15 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Representative for Banbridge and District, Cllr Dessie Ward has received information from the Housing Executive (NIHE) outlining the cost of clearing bonfire sites on their lands in 2007 after making a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Commenting on the information he received Cllr. Ward said:

"From the beginning of the year up until the start of September the NIHE has spent over £67,000 clearing their lands after bonfires the bulk of which are loyalist bonfires.

"Not only are people expected to tolerate the impact these bonfires have on the environment and the sectarianism that comes with many of them but they are also expected to have the money they pay in rates wasted in cleaning the mess up afterwards. What this figure don't reveal is the cost of cleaning bonfire sites on other lands outside of the Housing Executives' ownership.

"Bonfires have no place in a modern society whether they be loyalists bonfires or bonfires to mark internment. I am pleased to see that in some nationalist's areas, such as West Belfast, that they have looked at alternatives ways of marking the anniversary of internment and have done away with bonfires. What we need is the same sort of leadership in relation to loyalist bonfires.

"On my own constituency in the Banbridge area there are many Housing Executive tenants who are currently living with kitchens that are falling apart. I am sure it is the same across the board. This money could have been much better spent if it were to have been added to the budget for replacement kitchens." ENDS

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