11th bonfires – what the Councils pay

Yesterday I examined increasing expenditure over the last five years for the Fire Service in dealing with 11th July bonfires (circa £4 million in total)

Today I will provide some figures showing the increase in Council funding for events linked to these bonfires over the same period. Unfortunately only half responded within the time limits set under Freedom of Information. I will follow up with the slackers for the grand total at the end of series.

The figures for 2010 are incomplete at present so from the 13 respondants we can see a rise of 411% in expenditure from 2005 (£46,700) to 2009 (£230, 058).

The incomplete total over five years for half our Councils is £850,000.

Those with the largest expenditures were helpful in providing justification documents beyond my simple request for figures. As this series is solely aimed at finding out the total cost to the public for 11th bonfires that material is not linked.

The expenditure covered grants for community events, safer bonfires scheme, bonfire incentive schemes, tidy bonfire schemes/competitions etc.

It should be noted that Councils were not the sole funders in all cases and at various times the Housing Executive, PSNI, OFMDFM, Community Relations Council, European and other funds have contributed to these schemes.

The estimated number of bonfires in each Council area in 2009 comes from the Institute for Conflict Research Review of the Belfast City Councils Bonfire Management Programme 2007-2009. Not all those bonfires received funding.

The figures do not include clean-up, maintainence costs etc. which will be part of a future entry.