DUP and PUP plan ‘Cultural Convention’ to counter bonfire crackdown

Four bonfires are named in the injunction including this one at Inverary Playing Fields Four bonfires are named in the injunction including this one at Inverary Playing Fields
By Evan Short

The DUP and PUP are to hold an Autumn ‘cultural convention’ in an attempt to counter Council efforts to crack down on rogue bonfires.

Amid growing anger in the unionist community at efforts to improve safety at bonfires, party group leaders Lee Reynolds and Billy Hutchinson drafted a statement blaming “republicans” for prosecuting a “cultural war”.

The statement followed a High Court injunction against four pyres built on Council land in East Belfast preventing any more material being delivered.

The injunction appeared to have been ignored, however, with masked loyalists continuing to stack pallets late into Monday evening.

The joint statement attacks Sinn Féin’s political record and performance in the latest election before outlining their plans for the autumn.

“Going forward, we invite those who want the Twelfth celebrations to succeed to come together this autumn for a Cultural Convention,” the joint statement reads. “The aim of this will be to ensure that the unionist community can go forward with one voice in promoting our culture, heritage and tradition, as well as to ensure that our celebrations continue to be bigger, better and more successful than ever before.”

Sinn Féin Council leader Jim McVeigh welcomed the injunction and said he expected the PSNI to carry out enforcement.

“I welcome the issuing of these injunction on four Belfast Council-owned sites,” he said. “Sinn Féin called for injunctions such as these to be taken this week in order to protect Council property.

“The gathering and storing of materials has disrupted the use of some of these sites and by burning of these large pyres Council property would be further destroyed. That is not what the ratepayers of this city want to see or indeed pay for.

“It is now critically important that the PSNI and Belfast City Council act upon these injunctions to ensure that the dangerous material already gathered at these sites is safely removed in order to protect the people, homes and property in the vicinity of these illegal bonfires.”

 

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