£600k cost of bonfire cleanup

Published Tuesday, 09 October 2012
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Councils across Northern Ireland have spent more than £600,000 cleaning up after Twelfth of July bonfires over the past five years.

£600k cost of bonfire cleanup
Bonfires were lit across Northern Ireland on the Eleventh Night this year. (© Getty)

Newry and Mourne had the costliest bill for clear-up at almost £120,000, followed by Craigavon on £84,000 and Belfast on £83,000.

However the total figure of £602,922 only accounts for 20 of the 26 councils.

Four councils - Armagh, Derry, Dungannon and North Down - didn't respond to MLA John Dallat's question while two - Fermanagh and Strabane - claimed they had incurred no cost.

Meanwhile Antrim and Down could only give figures for 2012 and Moyle only for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

It was also disclosed that a further £22,229 has been spent clearing up nationalist bonfires.

Mr Dallat said he thinks it's possible the final totals are in excess of a million pounds.

"The figures supplied by the councils vary widely and in some cases are clearly estimates," said the SDLP member.

"My own belief is that the real cost is much higher in some council areas than admitted and, of course the costs borne by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the Roads Service and other authorities is not included."

The politician said the "astronomical cost to ratepayers" is not justified.

He continued: "None of the costs quantify the damage to community relations, the damage to people's health, particularly children and elderly people and, of course, the harm the countless tyres, tins of paint and other toxic materials are doing to the environment.

"As a society we need to get real and find a more civilised way of celebrating events."

© UTV News
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20 Comments
gazza in belfast wrote (559 days ago):
bonfires are great spectacle and people all over the world light them for different celebrations but as usual in Northern Ireland seeing as its a protestant tradition it will be attacked over and over again by the usual suspects of the sdlp and sinn fein
seamas in belfast wrote (559 days ago):
Homer. Don’t be so dismissive. This is loyalist culture. You get a big pile of wood and tyres. Pile them up in the middle of the road, usually right in the middle of housing estate as close to someone’s house as you can. Drape flags and hang effigies of your neighbours on it. Then burn it while drinking a massive carryout and dance around singing sectarian songs until you fall over blocked. That’s culture alright. Old and beautiful.
Homer Simpson in Springfield wrote (560 days ago):
Seriously??... bonfires??... culture??... Load of Rubbish!! DOH
Danny in Ulster wrote (560 days ago):
@Ryan in Belfast - you need a life, all you do is make negative comments to every UTV story involving loyalists and unionists... You should make some friends and get out more, its sad really.
WTF in Ards wrote (561 days ago):
I'm a great believer in well policed community bonfires. Don't see the need for every street to have their own especially not in the middle of the road. I don't see the need to burn tricolours or union flags either etc. Conair I think the worst mess I saw this year after a bonfire was on Divis Street, hardly a bastion of loyalism.
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