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

Increased jail terms sought for two men jailed after 'fatal burglary'

Varadkar: ’Time has come to allow Irish people have their say’ on abortion

Labour TD Alan Kelly asks whether his phone has been bugged by gardaí

Attempted murder charge dropped after alleged victim dies of natural causes

Today's Stories

Fears at ‘painfully slow’ pace of falling mortgage arrears

ICTU: Private unions should seek 3.1% pay hike

Charity gets €300,000 in water fee refunds

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin coy on abortion recommendation


Scenes from the analogue city - Memories of Limerick from the late 80s and early 90s

Ask Audrey: 'I heard that Viagra fumes from Pfizer’s were causing stiffys below in Ringaskiddy'

The 12 drinks of Christmas - Top tipples for the festive season

Sex advice with Suzi Godson: My boyfriend is too noisy during sex

More From The Irish Examiner