Belfast Council seeks contractor to enforce bonfire policies after disorder

Belfast City Council is seeking a new contractor to enforce its controversial bonfire policies after the last one quit in the wake of this week's violent disorder.

Trouble again flared in pockets of nationalist areas on Tuesday night as bonfires were lit to mark the anniversary of the introduction of internment without trial during the Troubles.

The disturbances, which saw a car torched in the New Lodge area north of the city centre, came after similar unrest on Monday.

The trouble first flared on Monday afternoon in the Markets area on the other side of the city when a council contractor removed wood from a bonfire site. A number of cars were set on fire and police officers were attacked. In the Divis area a derelict credit union building was burned.

A Sinn Fein tabled motion giving the council authorisation to remove material from bonfire sites it deemed unsafe was passed last week, despite the opposition of unionist councillors.

The republican party has denied the move has only served to heighten tensions among the youths who build the fires.

Police have said some of those involved in this week's disorder were as young as 12.

The council has struggled for years to hire contractors to carry out work at volatile nationalist and loyalist bonfire sites during the summer.

It is understood the latest contractor withdrew its services citing health and safety concerns.

In terms of its own workforce, one council staff member sustained a cut to the head in the disorder when a thrown stone broke the windscreen of a council vehicle in west Belfast.

Another vehicle was damaged in a separate stone-throwing incident in the west of the city.

On Tuesday, Northern Ireland's chief constable George Hamilton vowed to bring those involved in this week's violence to justice.

He also stressed the need for parental responsibility in averting trouble that was largely perpetrated by youths.

More in this Section

Judge slams involvement of Cork radio station with man who believed himself victim of vendetta

225 people caught speeding; including one doing 177km/h in 100km zone

Man arrested in connection with €1m Offaly drugs seizure due in court

'Not too late' to resolve Irish Rail strike: FF

Today's Stories

No Government jet for freed Halawa

Garda officers may sue for right to strike

Rail unions vote for industrial action

‘We are on our knees after this ... we need help’


A helicopter put a piano on the 150-foot roof of Blarney Castle and other stories from the Cork Jazz Festival archives

Jazz Memories: Famous faces share their favourite moments

Live music review: The Horrors - Icy genius in a thrillingly intimate setting

New book revisits the games they just don't make anymore

More From The Irish Examiner