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.

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  • lamhdearg

    Mark what you may ask is why it costs over 400% more to do what councils do after the 11th night than it did 4 years ago, its not the council workers wages that account for the rise so what is it. keep digging good work, also can you find out how much we spend on policing eirigi illegal protests?.

  • Alan Maskey

    Community Relations Council:) LOL.

    We are looking at one very odd “cultural” event here. No need to look at Eirigi, Trident or the cost of clening pigeon poo off Carsoni’s statue.

  • Mark McGregor


    None of those costs are related to ‘after’ and very few are for staff wages ,they are funds for parties, cultural events etc connected to bonfires. The costs for ‘after’ will be in a later entry.

    As for éirígí protests, they aren’t related to this blog series but anyone can FoI the PSNI for those figures – why don’t you?

  • lamhdearg

    i dont Foi the psni because i do not have an axe to grind, you on the other hand do it seems, and a labrys axe it is not.

  • Alan Maskey

    Well if you don’t have an axe to grind, why single out Eirigi and why get so worked up over it? These bands and marches are a really sore spot. One should not pick at a scab, I guess.

  • lamhdearg

    Alan i “single out Eirigi” because i feel Mark has a soft spot for them, as i have put on other post’s i like to go to the band parade’s I LIKE THEM AND I DONT WANT THEM TO STOP, picking scabs we should not do it but we/i do.

  • Mark McGregor


    Others when they are trying to deflect from my content note I’m not a member of éirígí.

    Any port in a storm as opposed to just dealing with the very clear numbers I’m presenting on the 11th.

  • lamhdearg

    Mark ask yourself why a 400% increase. do not highlight the 11th night only and tell me its raining.

  • alley cat

    Boring. Zzzzzz

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    Somebody should really alert the tory economic grim reaper to the atavistic fun and games that the Scottish and English tax payers are paying for here.

    Maybe the UUP could or is that game a bogey?

  • Drumlin Rock

    T save yous wasting your time repeating it again guys, just read the last time we went through this, like yesterday…


  • Alan Maskey


    They sure like themselves, these council eunuchs. Bobby Sands would see he did not die in “vain”.

  • Drumlin Rock

    thanks Alan, that shows just who petty Marks crusade is, that council spend similar amounts on photographers shows how little it really is.

  • Alan Maskey

    My pleasure DR. I don’t know if you are a big follower of gaelic games (big day today). Anyway indulge me and go to this site:

    A great win for Sligo and Tyrone women are on the march. These are wonderful results, much better than Kilkenny moving ever onwards.
    For all its rough and tumble, for all its sins, the GAA is now the prefrred game of Ireland’s soccer mums. The FAI were given a big stadium, are up to their eyes in debt and are stil the ragged shower of gypsies (inside joke) they evr were.

    What has this to do with our brothers in Christ having bonfires? Quite a lot. They too must tidy up their act. They too must become packaged like the GAA – and the Guy Fawkes bonfires our more civilised brothers in Christ in England get off on. (I must say I find the G Fawkes bonfires sectarian and offensive too).

    The photo costs are interesting too. Politicians love themslves and they terrorise their staff. They too feed into the problem. What God fearing, Christ loving elected politician would really want to hang around a bonfire with a load of cider drinking yobs? Time to move on.

  • I think it’s probably relevant to the “debate” to the point out that Mark asked me a couple of weeks ago if I’d be happy to produce, for the sake of balance, some kind of counter-post on Slugger pointing out from a “Unionist” pov the plus points of the 11th night bonfires and also why the financial support provided by some councils for them could be justified.

    I wasn’t really happy to do it because basically in the context of Belfast and its environs anyway, in my opinion the disadvantages far outweigh any possible advantages. I did say I’d try to find who could present the case but obviously wasn’t successful.

    The more relevant point here though is that to date he has merely presented the hard and fast figures re cost. Those can’t be argued against- what those in favour of continuation of such funding can make a case for is why that expenditure is justified and what benefit, (cultural or social or whatever) do people in the various localities get from the bonfires. As far as I can see, no one has tried to do that yet.

  • Drumlin Rock

    O’Neill, my understanding was the funding was going towards “reducing” bonfires, either by funding alternatives, ie. beacons and fireworks, getting rid of most tyres etc, reducing the period the stuff accumulates over, making the events more “family friendly” and therefore easier managed, that sorta thing. In other words exactly most people want, Hard and Fast Costs, are rarely that, take the £28 million in NIW, if the bonfire programmes are not delivering improvments then cut them, but if bit by bit things are changing then they need enocuragement, not required a 100% success all at once.

  • DR

    The couple of folk I considered asking to do a counterpost, blogging novices that they are, would have been completely eaten alive by the predominantly republican commentariat on here.

    You, on the other hand, with both the experience and blogging skills could have done a post using the argument you’ve used above as your base rather than (in my opinion) jumping off the deep end.

  • Drumlin Rock

    Lets say I tried a different tactic this time, I don’t know or care enough about bonfires to do an in-depth defense, but didnt want it to go un-challenged (plus was still pissed off at mark for something he had posted few days before).
    I would be good to look at the tradition, unfortunately most of those involved in it do not seem to be slugger users, or on the internet much either I would guess, perhaps someone will come forwards yet and a proper discussion can take place.

  • DR

    “Lets say I tried a different tactic this time, I don’t know or care enough about bonfires to do an in-depth defense, but didnt want it to go un-challenged (plus was still pissed off at mark for something he had posted few days before).”

    Lesson I learnt the hard way from my student days when those who held my political views were very much in the minority was deciding first of all which battles were worth winning and secondly which battles we were capable of winning.

  • Drumlin Rock

    but bet there were times you just slung some mud to ruffle their smugness 🙂

  • Generally succeeded in only raising my own blood pressure;)

  • Neil


    There’s another 3.6 million to be added to the running cost of the 12th, for policing parades and bonfires.