Summer of Parading Peace points way for Bonfire Regulation

There are many reasons why people oppose the practice of building and burning bonfires.

That they are an eyesore is beyond dispute. For a period of weeks- if not months -before the night they are set alight, the area surrounding the bonfire site is turned into a rubbish dump, attracting crowds often into the small hours of the morning.

Of course, many of those involved in constructing the bonfire are simply kids attracted by the excitement of the event, and many will retain and perhaps cherish memories of being involved in the process long into their adult years.

But some of those involved in constructing the bonfires will engage in anti-social behaviour which can terrify and cause misery to local people residing in the area who are simply interested in going about their daily lives. On that note, the transformation of green areas often in use by members of the community into a mass dumping ground is a depressing sight.

The 11th Night bonfire tradition continues to be defended by all elements within political unionism, leaving unionist politicians exposed and embarrassed when bonfires are constructed in a manner that endangers lives and property, or when the fire is constructed in a manner to promote hatred of the Other through the ritual burning of effigies, posters, flags and sporting shirts.

In republican communities, the destructive nature of the bonfire culture precipitated the development of Feile an Phobail, the West Belfast Festival. The success of that community festival has led to numerous off-shoot festivals being established, including the Ardoyne Fleadh and Greater New Lodge Community Festival.

In recent years, there have been efforts by some within working class republican communities in Belfast and Derry to revive the bonfire tradition.

The primary motivation of those involved would appear to be to imitate what they see happening on the 11th July each year, when bonfires are set alight in loyalist communities. In August, the flaming pyres differ only in that the flags burnt are British. The hate is the same.

For many years, mainstream political leaders within nationalism have been very vocal in their opposition to those seeking to re-establish this tradition, and this has led to angry confrontations between community workers and elected representatives and those engaging in these antics.

Last August, a prominent republican ex-prisoner, Tim Brannigan, gave a public account of the racist abuse directed at him by those attending the August 9th bonfire in the Beechmount area of west Belfast. His house also came under sustained attack for a number of hours, with windows being broken.

Tolerance of the bonfire tradition is premised upon fear, and the violence visited upon Tim Brannigan illustrates why many would prefer to shuffle past the bonfire builders as opposed to voicing their opposition.

In such an environment, the role of political leaders and others in authority is of paramount importance. We should not be under any illusion: the bonfire is a culture almost exclusively preserved in working class communities for the simple reason that middle class communities would not tolerate such an imposition upon their locality- and residents in more affluent districts would expect the active support of the PSNI and other statutory agencies to prevent their communities from being treated in such a manner.

The New Lodge area of north Belfast is one of the most socio-economically deprived in the north of Ireland. The Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure uses objectively-verifiable data to produce a picture of spatial deprivation across Northern Ireland. Of the 890 Super Output Areas (SOA) which take in every community in the state, the three SOAs representing the New Lodge electoral ward all rank in the top 16 most deprived (the only other electoral ward which features all three SOAs in the top 16 is Falls.)

The last person to be killed by the RUC using plastic bullets was 15 year old Seamus Duffy, who was killed in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on 9th August in 1989.

For many years now, local Sinn Fein elected representatives have played a game of cat and mouse with bonfire builders in the New Lodge district, attempting to prevent a bonfire from being built and burned in the area.

This year alone, Councillor JJ Magee has personally removed over 300 pallets. As a result, he has faced threats of physical violence and his car windscreen has been smashed. There is strong support from local residents for his actions, and it is not hard to see why.

I asked him to tell me about his experiences in the area in recent days.

“Many residents feel intimidated by the large groups of young men who gather in the area. In the past few weeks, two teenagers were subjected to a vicious assault and hospitalized after being set upon by thugs, whilst fighting amongst the older teens viewed as the ringleaders of the bonfire group is not uncommon. This has been happening for years and too many of those involved use the bonfire as an excuse to engage in anti-social behaviour which causes misery in the area.”

The role of the PSNI has been called into question by some, as the front page lead story in this week’s North Belfast News illustrates, whilst the reluctance of other statutory agencies to more actively get involved in preventative measures like removing pallets and tyres prior to the bonfire being set alight illustrates the challenges involved.

But there is a clear lesson to be learned from the relative peace that has defined this summer’s marching season, and it is this: regulation works.

The establishment of the Parades Commission has provided the framework in which, over a period of years, the resolution of almost every major parades dispute has occurred. The turmoil besetting the Twaddell lodges in recent days betrays a sense of resignation to the fact that, to all intents and purposes, the final parade dispute capable of sparking violence on an annual basis has been resolved.

But whilst the Parades Commission has worked effectively to defuse tensions across society, the problems visited upon predominantly working class communities by bonfires continues to be an area in which the law of the jungle alone applies.

That is not to say that bonfires should be completely banned. One of the key lessons from the success of the Parades Commission is that those involved must be identifiable and accountable. Consequently, a licensing system should be developed which will have the effect of establishing parameters and setting conditions which must be met for a bonfire, Orange or Green, to be constructed.

On this note, the failure of local government councils to provide an adequate stick for the carrot of council funding must be noted, and the bonfire funding scandal which rocked the former Antrim Borough Council provides an example as to why that approach is not the answer.

It should not be beyond the PSNI to either directly intervene- or protect those contracted to do so- when pallets and tyres are gathered for burning on public space, never mind when stolen banners, posters and flags oft-emblazoned with hate messages are positioned to be burnt from the pyres. The PSNI and statutory agencies are entitled to expect the full support of elected representatives for acting in a manner that will ultimately improve the quality of life for ordinary citizens.

After all, that is what they are paid to do.

 

  • Skibo

    The fact that so few speak Irish now has more to do with the persecution of the language in previous years.
    http://www.askaboutireland.ie/learning-zone/secondary-students/irish/an-cultur-gaelach/translation-irish-languag/decline-and-revival/
    Your example of the Malaysian education system teaching in English did not bear out in practice and was abandoned after six years.
    The conclusion of the government was “and that the dominance of English in the curriculum risked undermining students’ grasp of their first language”
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/jul/10/malaysia-tefl
    It is a pity that we did not have a government that would protect our own native language as strongly but the colonisation of Ireland took no prisoners when it cane to language.

  • Skibo

    I find your treatment of the SDLP similar to that of SF with the Stoops badge.
    Would it not have been a question of policing and justice?

  • grumpy oul man

    I believe he meant it the “other way” and you are right it makes no sense at all.

  • grumpy oul man

    it means, Most Oppressed People Ever! and it means people going around looking for things to be offended about and when unable to find anything makes something up.

  • Thomas Barber

    For a start blocking off the main route into the North’s main Cancer unit even having the bonfire on hospital property.

  • grumpy oul man

    Well for no fan of bonfires that’s nice to know,
    How about you prove that and condemn outright the burning of tires and other pollutants plus the inconvenience and threats to the property of working class protestants by these eyesores and while your at it condemn the burning of flags and symbols for the hate fest that it is.
    I’m waiting.

  • grumpy oul man

    As do victims of loyalist terrorism, how many of either live in the city center?
    Which i believe is my point.

  • grumpy oul man

    Let us hope not, perhaps you are growing as a person 😉

  • grumpy oul man

    I agree with nearly all you say,
    This bit ” The impression is of denigration and a desire that the Prods who do this cease to be seen”
    well the Prods (or any other group) who behave like this should be treated to public contempt and would it not be nice if their behavior was to disappear but i cannot find any poster who has called for a final solution.
    But it must be stressed that a great many Prods and unionists have nothing but contempt for these people also.
    Apart from that you got my vote.

  • Thomas Barber

    The Orange order and its followers refuse to comply with Parade commission determinations when passing St Patrick’s chapel year after year yet the same parades are never banned.

  • the keep

    I apologize for my clumsy punctuation, Reader has picked up exactly what i meant.

  • Croiteir

    I enjoyed the bonfire when I was younger, we never had an internment bonfire, ours was for the Assumption. And I still like it. Even though the shinners don’t, but then the shinners and other control freaks do not tell us what to do.

    Unfortunately the younger people are turning their backs on traditional Irish customs, how many make St Brigid crosses in the home, put out mayflowers on May eve?. I see it as a departure from the colour and vibrancy of tradition and custom to a greyness of conformity. We lose a little bit of who we are every time a tradition is lost.

    The real problems as I see it are in urban areas, where the need to be the best prevales above all other considerations.

    This is why Chris is correct, these activities need encouraged and constrained. But never banned.

  • grumpy oul man

    which is by any reasonable definition a far bigger threat because it is being carried out by republicans.

    really hard to read this any other way than what it says, could you perhaps punctuate it for us to see if it reads any different!

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    Simple misrepresentation of how the law works.

    The police require ‘reasonable suspicion’ to make an arrest. The facts that underpin that suspicion are then conveyed to the prosecution authorities in an interim report, the police do not hold people on remand at court (and most certainly MI5 have no such powers).

    It is therefore the PPS who are bringing people to and fro to court. There may indeed by a wait whilst all available evidence is gathered by the police, at times specifically on the directions of prosecutors.

    Now setting aside the “political policing” and other conspiracy theories so beloved of a certain constituency amongst nationalists, and loyalists too when one if their own has their collar felt, should anyone believe that they have been arrested purposefully in the wrong, or held on remand without merit, then take a case against the police or PPS for, respectively, wrongful arrest or malicious prosecution.

    I know quite often as someone or other exits the turnstiles at the High Court after having been released from remand or a case has been stopped they are making on-camera undertakings to the media to pursue the course of action I have outlined. Yet how many actually do, more pointedly, how many are successful? I’d expect loads if the ‘political policing’ accusations hold even a modicum of truth.

  • Oggins

    What about all the cars Republicans drive? Or the motorcycles loyalists drive? Seriously, do you actually read what you write!? The issue is all bonfires, I drive by a Republican bonfire this week, and I want it removed.

    You and your whataboutery band of merry men again then attack the man, and other besides the points.

    AAA AAA we can’t have one of themuns tell us what to do, on a neutral conversation!! Question him and not the post. Ready steady, Thhhhhhheeeeemmmmmmmuuuunnnnnsss !!!

    The keep needs to go into a room and have a conversation with himself

    P.s. I did chuckle at the scrabble

  • Oggins

    Wise up

  • Oggins

    That makes too much sense. Stop it. It doesn’t cause offence, or allow for discussion forums such as this

  • Oggins

    Laws against burning waste. Laws against not controlling and documenting where your waste goes. So if I get rid of a lorry of pallets and I can’t show where it went and how it was recycled or burned (for energy), I can be fined. Cradle to grave

    All came from those pesky EU directives

  • Oggins

    Disgusting and does not represent my nationalism

  • Ciaran74

    All schools in Malaysia must teach all primary subjects in Malay.

  • Oggins

    Starts with the E.A. if they need police they can request.

  • Oggins

    They are moving from English to Malay.

  • grumpy oul man

    I think you will find that Bahasa Ingress is taught in the Bahasa class.
    some schools will teach all lessons in English if the pupils are the children of migrant workers from English speaking countries (youngest Daughter at the oul TEFL thing in Panang).
    So some private schools are indeed teaching in English but it is not, nor likely to be National policy.

  • grumpy oul man

    No they are not.

  • grumpy oul man

    true.

  • Lex.Butler

    That’s my memory as well that Assumption Day was when them’uns had a bonfire and the 11th for us’uns. Which suggests to me that both sides were perpetuating a tradition that goes back into the mists of time, and is very local one. Marching, music, dressing up and bonfires seem very much part of a shared culture even if the colours clash.

  • grumpy oul man

    ach now start wherever you want, unless you don’t have anything to start with.
    But i am sure that is not the case, there are those who think you make these claims, lets shut them up.
    facts

    quotes,
    Show us the hatred, don’t be afraid,stand up for the oppressed people that you claim the OP loathes.
    bet you cant!

  • Oggins
  • Glenn

    How can Mr Donnelly post in support of Sinn Fein/IRA when he stated in a TV interview that they have a credibility problem. Has their credibility problem left the party Gerry???

  • Oggins

    Where does he support SF in this article?

  • Jollyraj

    Oh, I see – I believe that phrase was originally coined to describe the Irish Nationalist cult of victimhood, wasnt it?

    Hardly applicable to me – I don’t feel oppressed in the slightest.

  • Jollyraj

    Is that a policy you’d like to see in a new UI? Compulsory education in the medium of Irish language? Can’t see that being popular. I think it must be something of an embarassment to the Irish language lobby, the near universal disinterest in it.

  • eireanne3

    my neighbours and I live in a smokeless zone. We can’t have garden bonfires

  • Jollyraj

    I would, yes, condemn the burning of tyres or damage to anyone’s property.

    And I would also condemn the burning of flags or symbols, whichever side is doing it.

    Any additions to the list of things you would like me to spend my time condemning?

  • eireanne3

    but you and many other Unionists do confabulate

  • Gopher

    I don’t read the Newsletter fortunately

  • Jollyraj

    In what way?

  • eireanne3

    you and many other Unionists refuse to entertain a different point of view –
    In other words, you don’t hold that thought and reflect – “well just maybe I can see what they are on about ” –
    Consequently misinterpreted memories/views about NI and Unionism are presented, without the conscious intention to deceive.
    They are misinterpreted because you and other Unionists refuse to consider the whole picture .As long as you look at only 50% of the picture, your vision is necessarily limited

  • eireanne3

    the people of st patrick’s parish have been subjected to sectarian abuse for 140+ years. generations upon generations of the catholic working class have had to put up with it.

    How would the people of East belfast or the Shankhill feel about that if the shoe was on the other foot?

    Aren’t St patrick’s parishioners entitled to a little respect ? Aren’t they due a little respite?

    https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/tale-of-a-blue-plaque-and-two-statues-presbyterianism-and-sectarianism-in-belfast/

  • Thomas Barber

    I was baptised in St Patrick’s, born and bred just up the road at Carlisle Circus and I remember the roaring Hanna statue being blown up.

  • eireanne3

    confabulation kicking in!

  • Croiteir

    Very much so, St Johns Eve bonfires with the cattle driven between them, the jumpng of the bonfire for luck, (perhaps the luck was not getting burned), hollowing out of turnips for Halloween , Halloween knock on the 31st only, and having to say a rhyme before you got anything. All lost in pale modernity. I loathe the progressives, they destroy all colour and diversity, they create a grey wastland and call it peace. Liars and frauds.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Here is a picture of Gerry’s “N” from Ballymurphy ! Only problem was that they soon became refugees caused by other “N” off “The Murph” ?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    It is interesting you mention the City Hospital and your term “blocking off” Thomas ! A few years ago I was parading home down the Lisburn Road on the 12th and I noticed a lady franticly waving from a car window at the top of Elmwood Avenue. She seemed in severe stress so I dropped out off the parade to inquire what was the problem. Her sick mother was in the passanger side off the vehicle and she informed me she needed to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible. No Problem I said. Follow me in your car through the bystanders first and then I will stop the parade and get you across the Road and down into the road turn off into the hospital. All went according to plan. It was clear that they were not familar with Orange Parades and what to do. I waved them on their way and wished the old lady gets treated quickly and gets better. Another point also worth noting that an Ambulance and Emergency Services are allowed to drive straight up through an Orange Parade to use the quickest route to get to a hospital.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Bonfire jumping, mayday and Halloween?

    Add a wickerman to that list and i’m in!

    I agree entirely regarding the death of customs, old traditions have been replaced by the tv and shopping.

    That being said, such vacuums can often pave the way for a revival.

  • Croiteir

    If you want in I will do my very best to facilitate, I, however will stay on the outside giving you every encouragement

  • Skibo

    No JR I would not be proposing compulsory education in the medium of Irish but I would want to see advantage given to it as a means of preserving the language. I would see this happen as a higher percentage of allowance for students who attend Irish medium schools.
    There would be a points system for public jobs and the level of conversing in Irish would achieve a certain amount of points.
    To me that is a positive reward system and not a penalise system of insisting on compulsory learning of the language.

  • Skibo

    Chris did you actually read your own post?
    “There are no laws against having a bonfire, but there are laws for the nuisance they can cause.”
    “Your council can issue an ‘abatement notice’ if a neighbour’s bonfire is causing a nuisance. A bonfire must happen frequently to be considered a nuisance.
    Your neighbour can be fined up to £5,000 if they don’t stick to the notice.”
    Now that would be a start.
    Instead, we have the housing executive boarding up the front of houses and firemen on standby hosing down roofs to stop them catching fire.
    As I posted below there are laws against the burning of waste and in particular plastic and tyres.

  • Jollyraj

    Sounds a bit like discrimination along lines of ethnic origin to me.

  • Skibo

    Hardly discrimination. It is not penalising the use of English, it is rewarding the learning of Irish. Nobody will be prevented from learning Irish.
    I know you have no love of the Irish language but how would you propose protecting a native language?

  • Thomas Barber

    Fair pay to you TE and I have no problems with Orange parades I watched this years parade from near the entrance to the hosp on the Lisburn Road. I was talking about the bonfire at the entrance to the hospital on the Donegal Road the main route to the City Hosp from the M1 motorway.

  • Jollyraj

    “I know you have no love of the Irish language but how would you propose protecting a native language?”

    I love languages generally, including Irish, and have learned several. I hope I will learn others.

    I believe that all languages are treasure houses of cultural and each in their own way provide windows into the human soul. Irish, too.

    There are reasons why the Irish language declined to its present status, and we know what they are. No good going over that ad nauseum if the true goal is to preserve and promote it in the present and in the future.

    In my honest opinion, the greatest threat to the already shaky future of Irish is not thre globalization of English but the politicization of it by extremist Irish Republicans whom have attempted to use it as a weapon against the unionists and thus alienated a fair amount of people whom might otherwise have been inclined to learn it and use it.

    Irish language enthusiasts need to reclaim it, disown the various terrorists groups who use it to craft their sleazy slogans, and make it attractive to the only other grouping who might actually use it.

    That would be a good starting point. Why shouldn’t my grandchildren learn Irish? Well, one thing that might certainly turn them off it would be seeing whomever the Sinn Fein equivalent of 2040 on the 2040 equivalent of television uttering some half-baked ungrammatical catchphrases in Irish and explaining why it was necessary and right for the 2040 version of the IRA to kill people.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    I believe the local community have resolved that issue too. They have relocated that bonfire away from the main Donegall Road into a small waste ground sealed area at Coolfin/Coolbeg Street and reduced the size of it and made it family friendly for young children having a Kids Party. Access is not blocked to the hospital. Progressive and positive work done by this community.

  • Ryan A

    There are laws against dumping crap at the side of the road though, whether it’s for a bonfire or not. Milltown on the A55 being case in point.

  • grumpy oul man

    But you do love a good mope. And it can apply to anyone.
    Now i believ you accused someone of hatred of unionosts or some such and i asked you for some proof and you didnt have any,
    Now you see thats a mope.
    Claiming somebody is doing something because they hate you (and then not being able to give a example) is mopery.
    Of course i will apoligise if you actally come up with some proof.
    And i am glad you now oppose the burning o tyres.,
    Not long ago you where comparing it to car exhusts and suggesting it was hyprocisy to object to one and not yhe other.
    Wgich as i am sure you realise now was nonsense.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Done! But if you say “Welcome, fool. You have come of your own free will to the appointed place” I’m outa there…

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Actually, that’s an interesting point; I remember vividly watching a band splinter in two like the Red Sea to facilitate the passage of an ambulance and then reassemble without pause.

    What struck me was how none missed a note, step nor beat during the process.

    I think loyalist bands receive an unfair amount of criticism all things being said, but I just get so damn annoyed when unionist politicians refuse to criticise the obvious failings and vulgarities that plagues certain rungs of the culture.

    If they were to man up, take the flak (literal and metaphorical) and say what needs to be said then the culture could be one of pride and not of controversy.

  • Croiteir

    Fáilte ama(ghobsmacht)dán

  • Skibo

    JR, The fact that the Unionist people label the use of the Irish language is politicising is the very issue.
    Republicans do not defend the Irish language to only be used by Republicans. It is open to all. They celebrate the fact that Linda Irvine is promoting the Irish Language in east Belfast.
    Republicans cannot depoliticise it. That gem lays in the hands of Unionism.
    Would it not be better if Unionists would embrace the language and take ownership of it.
    The only issue I can see stopping such an action is their fear of watering down their British culture. Now if it is that weak that it can be affected by the learning of a language ten British culture has a big issue.
    Gregory Campbell insulted the Irish Language and was not pulled in line by the Unionist parties. He was the one who politicises it.
    Had I answered him, I would have made a joke of him rather than what the Culture Minister did and give him publicity.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    As said before “Credit where credit’s due” *tips hat*

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Yes. Very witty…

  • T.E.Lawrence

    The Loyalist Bands are trained to do that procedure for emergency services, there are a lot of other positive human issues and discipline that has been passed down from generation to generation within this marching group of our society. Yes I can understand your frustration on the failings and vulgarities that can also occur but feel that the solution lies “within itself ” in this culture. Society needs to work with this culture which effects so many people in communtities and progress it moving forward to this so called “Shared Space” rather than demonize it and push it back into the defensive ! Take the Positives work with them to minimize and dilute such negatives ?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Or, chris, a problem with the polutant effect of what is being burnt:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/uvf-blamed-for-huge-rise-in-tyres-at-11th-night-bonfires-34872118.html

    With the steady clampdown on the use of tyres, the major polutant, this issue may be incressingly now in hand if the UVF’s imports are stopped. But certainly, as the Jarl says above, more precise legislation is required to define what is problematic in our situation. One way to go to my mind would perhaps be legislation to discourage the cancerious growth of massive bonfires and encourage a return to the reasonable proportions of fires from the period before the troubles.

  • Reader

    grumpy oul man, it was naughty of you to quote a fragment of the sentence. Here is the whole sentence, with improved punctuation.
    “He raised the environmental issue of the bonfires yet completely ignored illegal fuel smuggling – which is by any reasonable definition a far bigger threat – because it is being carried out by republicans.”

  • chrisjones2

    No but burning wood is environmentally neutral while burning tyres is awful. But Unionist politicians will not challenge that as its managed by the UDA and UVF. You may have noticed than when you buy a new tyre you are forced to pay £5 to dispose of the old one in an environmentally sensible way – so if the UVF can burn say 5000 tyres on bonfires instead that is say 30 Caribbean holidays

  • chrisjones2

    the colonisation ended 100 years ago in the Republic and they have done very little because – aside from a small minority – there is no hard demand for it

  • chrisjones2

    “The fact that the Unionist people label the use of the Irish language is politicising is the very issue.”

    They dont in Ireland and Irish is almost on its knees there too. More people there are now native Polish speakers. Its called history

  • Skibo

    The government in the South tried the method of force to reintroduce the Irish Language. People rebel against what they must do. It should have been as a method of reward.
    The Irish Language is not dead. The majority of people in the south have various elements of the language. The problem is having a reason to use it.
    English is the language of domination and it has dominated all aspects of life.
    If you want it to stop growing in the North, stop objecting to its use. It will not be “sexy” to use it or be educated in it.
    There will always be the enthusiasts who will use it and keep it alive no mater what you do.

  • Skibo

    “In Gaeltacht areas (Irish speaking areas) 35 percent of people speak Irish on a daily basis. In comparison to the last Census the number of Irish speakers is up by 7.1 percent with 1.77 million people saying they could speak Irish. This means 41.4 percent can actually speak the language but simply don’t.30 Mar 2012”
    Straight from Google. A language where 41.4% can speak is not on its knees.
    Having a reason to speak it is different. Nearly all business and leisure is carried out in English.
    I expect the 1916 centenary and further centenaries that are still to happen will awaken a nationalistic spirit.
    The issue of the use of Irish Language and the flying of the Tricolour has been in the doldrums in the South, I believe is the fear that it would have people like you automatically come to the conclusion that all Irish speaking Tricolour waving people automatically support the use of violence to achieve a united Ireland.
    Not the case, no matter how you want to make out it is.

  • chrisjones2

    I dont object to it. Those who want it may have it but I do think its a dis-service to children to force them down a route that might blight their future prospects oif they are not fluent in English as well ….but that depends on parental aspirations

  • chrisjones2

    “want to see advantage given to it ”

    That could be illegal and a breach of the Equality Agenda embedded in GFA ….. and it isn’t done in Ireland

  • chrisjones2

    “Republicans do not defend the Irish language to only be used by Republicans. It is open to all. ” …. but Gerry spoke of “weaponizing” it as part of teh equality agenda

  • chrisjones2

    The sectarian bubble on bonfires is perhaps shared by both sides

  • chrisjones2

    Diesel laundering causes much more pollution but seems to be ignored

  • chrisjones2

    I seem to remember hearing the author of part of one of the 1916 events used in schools. The vile sectarian drivel she came out with should have been investigated. It was as bad as a Free Presbyterian Minister who felt he had the hand of the Lord upon him!!

  • chrisjones2

    Great. Why didnt the SDLP Minister drive this home while he was in post?

  • chrisjones2

    What main route was blocked? The main route is up the Lisburn Road from the city centre. When was it blocked. You can also get there vi University St and the Donegall Road or Lisburn Road

    If it was on Hospital Property did the Trust Object and stop it – its their call

    By the way, was the Cancer unit operating at the time. Usually these fires are at night on the eve of a Public Holiday

  • grumpy oul man

    Burning wood is only environmentally neutral when more trees are planted to remove the carbon from the atmosphere,
    1000s of pallets being burnt on bonfires present several problems for the environment.
    Firstly as pointed out the end user has not replanted any trees to create a zero carbon outcome.
    next the pallets working life has been drastically reduced, meaning more trees will be dropped in replacing them than otherwise, (A pallet has a lifespan of say five years burning them after one or two years obviously a waste of wood),
    wood smoke has been linked to cancer and is a green house gas (carbon dioxide).
    Granted it does not contain the same (or even comparable ) toxins as tyres

    and could become very close to carbon neutral if wood at the end of its working life was used.
    However i think you are right about the Unionist politicians not doing anything, this is at the heart of the problem.

  • Skibo

    I agree, it should not be forced on anyone but people can be rewarded for trying to preserve the language.

  • Skibo

    It is simple to make it legal through legislation.
    It wouldn’t be illegal or breach the Equality Agenda as you would not be enforcing the learning of the language against ones will.

  • Skibo

    Where did Gerry Adams say he wanted to weaponize the Irish Language?

  • cu chulainn

    Fuel smuggling does not cause pollution. Processing of fuel to remove agricultural markers might, but this is not smuggling. The latter problem has been addressed by a new marker and the smuggling itself can be ended with a stroke of the pen by the simple expedient of making prices the same.

  • grumpy oul man

    Im sorry Chriss but that is just whataboutry.
    I am as opposed to diesel laundering and the damage it causes . and i would be as vocal as anyone in comdeming it.
    Are you suggesting we do nothing about bonfires until diesel laundering stops.
    And let us not forget the sectarianism that surrounds the bonfires and the. Damage to people’s houses and the nuisance value that these things bring.
    I am not against bonfires ,but i am against these dirty monsters and the displays of hatred that surrounds them.
    So instead of looking for a way to change the subject unionists would be better dealing with the problem which affects nationlists far less than it does. Unionists who have to breathe the fumes, suffer the damage to thier area and live with the eyesores.
    But if shouting Themmuns is more important than the wellbeing of unionists then that is a great sadness.

  • Reader

    The impression I got was:
    New Lodge bonfires in the past = Least Worst Option
    New Lodge bonfires these days = bad
    Loyalist bonfires = always bad.