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Serious concerns over Belfast City Council's role in illegal bonfires to be raised - McVeigh

22 June, 2017 - by Jim McVeigh

Ahead of tomorrow's meeting of Belfast City Council's Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, Belfast Sinn Féin Councillor Jim McVeigh has expressed serious concern about decisions relating to bonfires taken by council officers.

Cllr McVeigh said:

"Belfast City Council has been facilitating multiple illegal bonfires across this city and has withheld this information from some councillors.

"We now find this has also happened in previous years and again this information has been withheld from some councillors.

"At tomorrow's meeting of the council's Strategic Policy and Resources Committee we will be asking for the Council Chief Executive to make a public apology for the damage done to the reputation of this council.

"Under no circumstances should any bonfire material be returned to any illegal bonfire site.

"Returning bonfire material to any of these illegal sites would make Belfast City Council complicit in the sectarian and racist hate crimes that occur around these sites and on bonfires.

"On one illegal bonfire site, the council has removed pallets using council vehicles and staff at a cost to the ratepayer.

"The council has also cleaned the site using council staff and equipment at a cost to the ratepayer.

"The council is also storing pallets on council property for this illegal bonfire at a cost to the ratepayer.

"And the council intends to return these pallets to be used in this illegal bonfire that will cause physical and environmental damage and which ratepayers will have to foot the cost to get cleaned up again.

"This is scandalous behaviour from council officers to allow this to happen and be part of this.

"Decisions taken in secret by a number of council officers gives us serious concern.

"The facilitation by Belfast City Council of illegal bonfires and the hate crimes that occur on them has to stop now."

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