Hanna almost caramelized…

SOUTH Belfast Assembly member Carmel Hanna (SDLP) was stoned by loyalists as she arrived for a TV interview at a bonfire site today. Loyalists in some areas of Belfast have decided in their wisdom to repeat their disastrous policy of creating rubbish dumps on green spaces between the months of March and July. The City Council has already said will remove its £2,500 support from any group that ignores the guidelines laid down to receive funding for more acceptable forms of burning stuff – let’s see if it happens. The expense of the clean-up seems to be even driving some unionists to promote alternative forms of celebration – largely, it would seem, based on the nationalist example. Loyalist Feile, anyone?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Loved the UTV site headline, ‘Assembly member stoned’. Pass it round ffs.

  • fair_deal

    Belfast Gonzo

    The Belfast City Council funding is only for seven identified pilot areas (and this proposal is still to get final approval). It does not cover all areas of Belfast. (Also the particular site referred to may actually be in Castlereagh Council area.)

    Discussions about building and expanding on the existing twelfth celebrations have been underway. Regrettably, the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure has done nothing about proposals put to them months ago so it seems likely that it will be next year before there are any new developments.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Pat

    Yeah, but it was just TOO obvious…

    fair_deal

    It could well be Castlereagh… what’s the Council there doing about it? Anything?

    Didn’t DCAL publish proposals for bonfires last year? Weren’t they blatantly ignored in some quarters?

    It does get rather tedious, year in, year out. How much effort does it really take NOT to piss parts of your own estate off deliberately, or NOT to build on a surfaced football pitch, or NOT to build a toxic inferno, or NOT to create a visual eyesore for half the year?

    [/end troll]

    There has been progress in some areas, but since this could be such a basic, simple thing to get right – suitable location away from property, lack of toxic material in fire, no bodies afterwards – you’d have to question the motives of those behind bonfire sites that are no more than tips.

  • IJP

    This whole thing, most of all the attack on Mrs Hanna, is a total outrage.

    Fair_Deal

    DCAL taking months to respond to things? Surely not… 🙂

  • fair_deal

    IJP

    Neither shocked nor surprised but still disappointed

    Belfast Gonzo

    As far as I know Castlereagh has a bonfire programme. It may be dependent on a suitable site being found. I am working from memory on this and I could be completely wrong.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I’m always in two minds about bonfires. I have no problem if people want to celebrate with bonfires – it’s a pretty primitive instinct, I suppose – fine. Enjoy.

    Just be responsible, and piss as few people off as humanly possible.

    And leave the firefighters alone. That just sucks.

    That’s it. It isn’t rocket science.

  • vespasian

    It is time the police in NI decided to impose the law on everyone not just when it is convienient.

    The dumping of rubbish and building materials and the building of unauthorised bonfires is illegal and should be stopped.

    Sites should be provided for the purpose of holding authorised bonfires where they pose no danger to anyone and all others should be removed immediately.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Things have come to a sorry pass when an assembly member is attacked by stone throwing loyalists that her own party doesn’t even condemn the stone throwers, In fact the MLA herself seems to excuse it by talking about loyalist rights to celebrate their culture blah blah. Perhaps the stone throwers should get a grant from the Ulster Scots agency?

    No word of condemnation either from the Unionists – are they too scared or intimidated to speak out against violence against politicians lest they be targeted when they’re out on the canvas in the coming weeks?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Things have come to a sorry pass when an assembly member is attacked by stone throwing loyalists that her own party doesn’t even condemn the stone throwers, In fact the MLA herself seems to excuse it by talking about loyalist rights to celebrate their culture blah blah. Perhaps the stone throwers should get a grant from the Ulster Scots agency?

    No word of condemnation either from the Unionists – are they too scared or intimidated to speak out against violence against politicians lest they be targeted when they’re out on the canvas in the coming weeks?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Things have come to a sorry pass when an assembly member is attacked by stone throwing loyalists that her own party doesn’t even condemn the stone throwers, In fact the MLA herself seems to excuse it by talking about loyalist rights to celebrate their culture blah blah. Perhaps the stone throwers should get a grant from the Ulster Scots agency?

    No word of condemnation either from the Unionists – are they too scared or intimidated to speak out against violence against politicians lest they be targeted when they’re out on the canvas in the coming weeks?

  • Rebecca Black

    Makes a change from SDLP members being harassed by republicans, I see there is no condemnation of that by our republicans friends on slugger….

  • Alan2

    “unauthorised bonfires”

    I`m not sure there are any laws regarding this and things will simply be replaced bigger and better if removed. The solution is education and organisation. Either the council officially organises such things or they encourage some form of community group or indeed Orange Lodges / Ulster-Scots groups or any other local community group to take charge and try and transform the often drunken 11th night bonfires into more family oriented events / festivals.

    “In fact the MLA herself seems to excuse it by talking about loyalist rights to celebrate their culture blah blah.”

    And that it is. The Good Friday Agreement has entrenched sectarianism and Nationalist politicians are forever going on about local communities and the rights of “Nationalist and Republican areas”…..the other side of the coin is that this is a Loyalist area so what has it got to do with a Nationalist politician?

    Just playing Devils Advocate but that is the logical conclusion of the argument…

  • George

    While I commend Ballymena Ulster Unionist deputy mayor Lexie Scott for bringing up the issue and saying these bonfires “alienate”, he should be honest and say these celebratioins are in many cases actually an incitement to hatred of the nationalist community.

    Any chance we could go one step further and get some of the unionist councils in Northern Ireland to pass a motion condemning the burning of Catholic effigies, Irish flags, GAA jerseys etc. as well as complaining about the price of the mess.

    This disgraceful behaviour goes on every year and every year most politicians remain silent. I think we’ll be waiting even longer for the police to take action on this issue.

  • J Kelly

    Does Alisdair McDonnell have an alibi for the time of the attack on Carmel Hanna. I think he might be the chief suspect. Its that time again in the SDLP every man woman and child for themselves.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    J Kelly: Very good!

    Having spoken to someone in Belfast Council today about this scheme, I’m not as convinced as I was by another person that the rules for receiving the funding are as tight as they could be.

    Progress comes in baby steps here, but the Council could possibly be crawling…

    But what happens, if, for example, a community group in a loyalist area buys into the council scheme, organises a small and safe bonfire away from housing, makes it a family event and ensures the elderly and children have proper facilities… and then the UDA turn up and have a ‘show of strength’ (a show of utter weakness, really, but you know)?

    Is the offer of funding withdrawn, despite the best efforts of the locals not to have terrorists turn up and spoil it all? Or what? After all, the logic of the peace process is that everyone has to be punished for the sins of one, so it wouldn’t be anything new.

    The Client Services Committee passed the scheme I understand, but the full council has to ratify it. If anyone can find the document online, let me know!