Belfast bonfire builders wipe Council’s eye

There are many hundreds of bonfires being prepared for the 11th night and one has destroyed a nearby home when it caught light early.

Another on Belfast City Hospital property off the Donegal Road has been attracting more publicity

The Irish News reported on Tuesday (not online) that this one is now part of Belfast City Council’s Bonfire Management Scheme and is receiving up to £3K worth of funding (drawn from European Peace III money) for meeting certain requirements. One of the criteria the paper noted was an agreement not to display ‘paramilitary flags or paraphernalia’ .

How many of the terms for its funding will be met remains to be seen.

When I passed it had a large UDA flag proudly fluttering alongside the hospital entrance with the to be expected NI football supporters and Union flags.

I wonder if the council get a full or partial refund or just accept they’ve had their eye wiped?

Update: The recollection of one person via mail is:

IIRC there is a ceiling of funding (about £1500 I think) but this drops depending on how well the bonfire group fulfils its promises ie collect early lose x, have tyres lose y etc

I’ll FoI BCC tomorrow for the funding criteria they aren’t publishing at present and the total/individual grants.

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  • oneill

    “NI football supporters and Union flags”

    Mark

    What is a “NI football supporters’ flag” when it’s at home?

  • Mangy Tout

    WOW, and all those parades that don’t meet the criteria and all those parades that don’t actually glorify terrorism but are “street theatre”, and all those politicians of both sides who manage to claim housing grants or even motability cars and all those ex-prisoner groups that have had our money over the years – the whole law-abiding, tax-paying population have had their eyes wiped for years……….don’t be thinking any of our politicians will be doing anything about it anytime soon.

  • Mark McGregor

    oneill,

    It’s a bit like this

  • HeinzGuderian

    Lighten up,(bonfires,gettit?) and enjoy the Glorious Twelfth mate. 🙂

  • Mark McGregor

    I fully intend to. Last year I wasted the whole day by attending parades, this year I’ll be enjoying myself 😉

  • Local Government Officer

    Mark

    I’m really VERY surprised that such info isn’t handy, if not on their website, then via snail mail. Did you phone anybody to discuss it? Again, I’d be REALLY surprised if your queries weren’t answered and guidelines forwarded, if not from the Council then the PEACE III Partnership.

    The funding will be paid in retrospect. There’s no upfront payment of EU money, unless the Council is bankrolling it and claiming it back later. I would take a guess and say part of the money is for diversionary activities, while the rest would be for the more environmental elements.

    I know BCC has a veritable phalanx of Good Relations officers – six or eight, if I recall correctly – but if they’re grant-aiding 20-30 bonfires across the city, they’ll never be able to monitor them all, every day, for every minute.

    Do post your FoI results. I’d be interested.

  • Mark McGregor

    LGA,

    I’ll have to disagree with you on:

    ‘There’s no upfront payment of EU money’

    That is just incorrect. All EU money is paid before a project commences.

    How Belfast City Council manage the funding they get under Peace III may be different but they get the money up front.

    Most EU funded schemes do not self fund and claim back after – where would they get the money from in the first place?

  • HeinzGuderian

    You attended a parde ?? To hell with that……………sit in the pub from opening till closing. it’s the best excuse ever invented !!! 🙂

  • billy

    Quietest 12th ever.

    It’s a dying ritual.

    That it has been appropriated by the tourist officials only emphasises just how utterly powerless the OO has become.

    The whole purpose of the 12th in the past was to RITUALLY remind everyone that the loyalist people could do what they want, go where they want and say what they want.

    Not any more.

    Now, it’s been reduced to a few chaotic bonfires in the gutter slum holes of Norn Irn.

    Remember the ’12th forthnight’ when Norn Irn used to shut down? Not any more. Most of the city centre will be open on the 12th it’s that irrelevant now lol.

    Meanwhile, the tourist oiks desperately try and portray the hate-fest as fun day for everyone.

    Aye right, unfurl a tricolour as the parade goes past and you’ll see just what a ‘tourist’ attraction it is.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I thought the one at BCH had been prematurely lit on Sunday night/Monday mornng.
    When I passed it at about 8.15am Monday morning there were five chavvy teens scaratching their haeds and surveying the debris.
    On a lighter note a friend dumped a load of old wood at a bonfire in North Belfast last year and got a £150 fine for fly tipping.
    He wrote a nasty letter saying that was his reward for doing something for…..ahem “cross community” harmony.

  • Fed up coolfin resident

    The bonfire mentioned has had the paramilitary flag up beside it for three weeks now. For a supposedly religious ‘festival’ surely proclaiming to be better than God is blasphemous. By that I refer to the sign that says ‘God built the world in six days, we’ll build our bonfire in five’.

  • HeartoftheEmpire

    Why doesn’t Mark buy a nice bottle of red and sit in and watch Big Brother instead of driving around Belfast spying on children at bonfires?
    If he has so much time on his hands he could get a grant from the Community Relations Council to count all those sinister flags on those hateful loyalist bonies! Better still, why doesn’t he just drive a few hundred yards up the Donegall Road to the Broadway roundabout to make sure those Republican dissidents and their criminal colleagues don’t cause further mayhem this weekend. As for me. I’m looking forward to another Orange victory on Sunday!

  • Cynic

    I agree completely Mark.

    Isnt it terrible to see all those prods littering the highway and waste ground by their presence. They should all be deported back to Scotland you know. They would be much happier there. The climate would suit them better and they would be better off among their own kind.

    They really do make the place look untidy wandering about in rangers tops and supporting the NI football team. Wouldn’t want to see your daughter marry one would you?

  • oneill

    Mark,

    The last time I saw one of those it was Liechtenstein round about 2006.

    Just a coincidence/our luck that the “Vaduz Rising Sons of Ulster” decided to have a march the same day we were in town I guess;)

  • HeartoftheEmpire

    Mark Mc Geg: ‘When I passed it had a large UDA flag proudly fluttering’

    This afternoon I saw an even BIGGER tricolour flag proudly fluttering at the high rise flats in the New Lodge.

    For frigg sake don’t tell Mark – he will tout to the Housing Executive and the local tenants group will get their annual grant stopped!

    I wonder why this is called the silly season?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Interesting comparison between the flag of a friendly nation and fellow member of the Yoorpeen Community and the emblem of a terrorist organisation.

  • Mark McGregor

    Interesting, that noting a UDA flag flying where funding has been granted with what seems an explicit agreement/funding one doesn’t fly is seen as ‘time on my hands, a sense of ‘deportation’ and ‘touting’.

    I went out of my way to experience Orange culture last year and reported it fairly.

    This year I’ve fairly reported a bonfire has broken its terms and is displaying paramiltary flags.

    Seems the problem every year is commenting on stuff that some would prefer you didn’t. This time its the con job of bonfire funding.

  • anne warren

    ” a bonfire has broken its terms and is displaying paramiltary flags”.
    Will the council/ bonfire builders/ party-goers/ paramilitary organisation be contributing to the fine for not flying the EU flag?

    Brussels fines us £150m for failing to fly the EU flag at funded projects
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1292935/Brussels-fines-150m-failing-fly-EU-flag-funded-projects.html#ixzz0tE8IY2Km

  • HeartoftheEmpire

    Fitz – there was no mention of terrorism regarding ‘flag of a friendly nation and fellow member of the Yoorpeen Community’ – yet come to mention it, I do recall it being displayed as an emblem at many terrorist funerals and press conferences over the years – guilty by association?

    M McG – I thought the UDA had decommissioned and gone off the stage so why all the hype about a bloody flag that was probably put up by some ten year old kid? A quick chat with the ‘leaders’ of the bonfire might have resolved this instead of pursuing council officials to withdraw funding for kids activities in one of the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland. You are also giving loyalist nutters the opportunity for a tit-for-tat response to the council management scheme during the annual anti-interment internment bonfires in August
    At least you will have achieved equality – working class Unionist and nationalist kids will be deprived of street parties and activities. Sleep well!

  • Local Government Officer

    We’re just going to have to agree to disagree on that one. I haven’t paid out anything up front, EU or otherwise, since the debacle of PEACE I. Maybe some DSD money, but never EU and certainly not to a community group.

  • Local Government Officer

    We’re just going to have to agree to disagree on that one. I haven’t paid out anything up front, EU or otherwise, since the debacle of PEACE I. Maybe some DSD money, but never EU and certainly not to a community group.

  • Have you got a photo of the offending flag? I’ve certainly not noticed it (and I last passed the eyesore this morning). Is it on the actual site of the bonfire or a little way away? In fact I can’t remember ever seeing a UDA flag around the Village or Sandy Row areas. I’d always assumed the UVF was the favoured paramilitary organisation round these parts. There are plenty of purple UVF flags and YCV flags admittedly.

  • John East Belfast

    Funding should be witdrawn from any groups displaying paramilitary paraphenalia.

    As a Belfast Rate Payer I am already uneasy about how my funds are used without having our noses rubbed in it

  • Dec

    “working class Unionist and nationalist kids will be deprived of street parties and activities. Sleep well!”

    Heaven forbid those kids are ever offered an alternative to all night drinking beside a bonfire.

  • chewnicked

    ‘I can’t remember ever seeing a UDA flag around the Village or Sandy Row areas. I’d always assumed the UVF was the favoured paramilitary organisation round these parts’??

    And I can’t believe that you don’t know that Sandy Row is UDA territory, Chekov.

    By the way, Belfast isn’t the only council to have its eye wiped over money for bonfire beacon agreements. Step forward Down Council who have been sold a couple of pups by the organisers of the Downpatrick and Killyleagh boneys.

  • Comrade Stalin

    “uneasy” is, I guess, more than we would normally expect from unionists for rampant anti-social behaviour, illegal dumping, illegal lighting of fires, and damage worth hundreds of thousands of pounds to public and private property.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Heart of the Empire :

    A quick chat with the ‘leaders’ of the bonfire might have resolved this instead of pursuing council officials to withdraw funding for kids activities in one of the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland.

    Is encouraging kids that it is normal and OK to intimidate people, light fires, dump rubbish and damage public property something you think appropriate ?

    You are also giving loyalist nutters the opportunity for a tit-for-tat response to the council management scheme during the annual anti-interment internment bonfires in August

    Fuckin’ A. The drunken spides who organize such illegal and unsupported bonfires should be persued with all legal means available.

    Sheesh. It amazes me how quickly the upright law-and-order unionists quickly stoop to justifying rampant illegality, disorder and vandalism.

  • HeartoftheEmpire

    I think I may have touched a slight nerve with some of our Slugger Politicos and that BIG para flag has caused great consternation among our poison pen, middle class brethren!
    For the record, let me remind you of a few changes that are taking place in some of these loyalist communities:
    * huge steps have been taken to significantly reduce the number of loyalist paramilitary flags – its not perfect but it is significant progress;
    *Some of those leaders at the bonfire were out to the small hours last weekend trying to restore calm at Broaday/St James – along with their republican counterparts – unlike some of the ‘social commentators’ on this site;
    *While there are difficulties with some of these bonfires, some have been replaced with beacons and others are being managed much better – fair play to these lads;
    As for Mr Stalin – he is obviously one of our beloved securocrats – “send in the tanks and suppress these rebellious, loyalist teenagers”? Better still, let’s gas them! Somebody buy him a pint in the John Hewitt!

  • Billy

    The simple fact is that the Troubles started because Catholics had no civil rights and so an underclass was created. These bonfires are filthy, intimidating eyesores whose only aim is to keep that thuggish mindset alive. The saddest part is that all of this is sanctioned by public authorities.

  • Comrade Stalin

    * huge steps have been taken to significantly reduce the number of loyalist paramilitary flags – its not perfect but it is significant progress;

    Yes.

    *Some of those leaders at the bonfire were out to the small hours last weekend trying to restore calm at Broaday/St James – along with their republican counterparts – unlike some of the ‘social commentators’ on this site;

    Restoring calm during a riot is the job of the police. Not self-appointed “leaders”. I’m totally opposed to the police delegating this particular responsibility. They don’t do it in any other part of the UK or Ireland.

    Who exactly do these “leaders” lead anyway ? Who appointed or elected them ? How many votes do they get ?

    *While there are difficulties with some of these bonfires, some have been replaced with beacons and others are being managed much better – fair play to these lads;

    Yes, fair play to them for breaking the law, committing vandalism and arson, and lighting illegal fires in a slightly more orderly fashion.

    I’m sure that’s great reassurance to that couple who had their family home burnt down, and all the other people across the country who have to put up with having their windows warped and cracked due to the proximity of the fire who dare not speak up lest those “leaders” you mentioned previously put them in their place. Sure, let’s dismiss all of those concerns as middle class hand-wringing while your salt of the earth pals swill Harp, fire pistols in the air and scare the crap out of families with young children and pensioners nearby. It’s all about culture, isn’t it ?

  • Laffin Atchew

    Victory??? Would you mind telling me what (if anything) the OO have won… ever (and please don’t say the battle of the Boyne as that was King William and King James fighting a battle that had nothing to do with you or your ancestors)

    Please enlighten me/us?

  • Wasted Ballot

    I wonder, does the IRA have a flag or the old tri-colour all they need?

    Anyway, back to the point – I didn’t know there was funding for this kind of crap.. I’ve nothing against a bonfire (will this fall under the nazi public assemblies bill in the future?) as having been to a few there is generally a good atmosphere and kids enjoy it.. until the para’s take over.

    But lets be honest, giving them money to steal wood is a joke.

  • Joehas

    No Mark, it’s not. Feel free to phone the Special EU Programmes Body for confirmation. The Peace III cluster, in this case Belfast City Council, can make an advance payment to projects, but this is rare and will be claimed back if Peace III criteria is not met. It is usual that all Peace III payments are made retrospectively following a strict verification process.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The councils have been giving money to the bonfire organizers for years now. It’s a bribe. In exchange for the money the organizers agree to certain conditions eg. no burning of tyres, no paramilitary shows of strength, etc etc. I seem to recall that certain bonfires in the past, eg the one at Pitt Park in E Belfast, failed to meet these conditions and accordingly had their funding withdrawn the next time.

    I would like to see a legal framework controlling and regulating bonfires. Trouble is, I don’t think such a thing is possible. EU law around smoke/fire would make the whole thing susceptible to legal challenge. As it stands, though, I wonder what legal grounds the councils are on, in terms of providing money to fund activities which are clearly illegal.

    Now that the paramilitaries are supposed to have been banned I think it’s time the police were given the responsibility of ensuring that paramilitary flags were taken down. I’d also like to see bonfires which are especially illegal, like the one that caused that house to get burnt down in Newtownards, to be banned.

  • Joehas

    If this is funded by Peace III, as claimed earlier, then rest assured that your rates are safe in this instance – although your taxes probably aren’t. In fact, a substantial proportion of Peace III money comes from the RoI taxpayer.

  • As a Scot I love visiting my beloved Northern Ireland for the 12th of July celebrations.

    Unfortunately this year I can’t make it over, hopefully the people of this beautiful Country have a fantastic day of Culture and a great night at the 11th of July Bonfires.

    “Keep er lit”

  • it’s a football joke. Come out from under your rock

  • er, ‘unionists’?

    Is this the guy who tells us he’s in the Alliance?

  • Paying for bonfires is everything that is wrong with the EU and it’s chief hand out merchants in this country.

  • ciscowen

    I am surprised that EU funding supports the burning of pallets in N.I. when in the heartland of the Union there is a deposit on pallets and all are recycled.
    Quite apart from this shameful waste there is the environmental question:
    “Discarded wooden pallets should not be used for fire wood or crafts unless it has been determined that the wood in these pallets has not been treated with wood preservatives, fungicides and/or pesticides. Various pyrethrins and propiconazole are common treatments for wooden pallets. In addition, imported palletized goods are routinely fumigated with highly toxic pesticides such as methyl bromide. During use, harmful materials or chemicals also may spill on the pallet wood and be absorbed.”
    This is from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pallet#European_pallets

    We may have stopped tyre burning but what hidden health dangers still lurk?

    BTW: I saw the front page of the Andersonstown News this morning. Can anyone tell me what taunt was displayed on the Broadway bonfire.
    Orangefest? Hatefest! Why pretend that the OO is suddenly cuddly when it has stood for institutionalised discrimination for hundreds of years.
    Culture? Not according to my dictionary. Look it up!

  • Big Maggie

    Mark,

    “There are many hundreds of bonfires being prepared for the 11th night and one has destroyed a nearby home when it caught light early.

    “Another on Belfast City Hospital property off the Donegal Road has been attracting more publicity”

    Did I read that second line correctly? There was a bonfire in hospital grounds?

    Two questions:

    1. Have I entered the Twilight fucking Zone or a Calcutta slum?

    2. What did our Health Minister have to say about it?

  • TheHorse

    Yes Maggie its true, this is the time of year when Unionism annually turns a blind eye to blatant wanton distruction to public and private property, they even give them grants to do it. Then the rest of society have to foot the bill for compensation claims, clean up operations all in the name of culture and tradation.