09/07/2014

Orange Order Warns Over Tyre Burning

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has released a statement calling on the organisers of 'Eleventh Night' bonfires to ensure no tyres are burnt this year.

"Bonfires are an important part of the Protestant culture and celebrations in July, and it is important that everyone who wants to participant in them enjoys doing so. In particular bonfires should be welcoming to families and it is encouraging to see community events being organised on bonfire night in many areas," the statement said.

11 July sees bonfires lit in public spaces across Northern Ireland ahead of the 12 July celebrations. Recently, attention has been drawn to the increasing practice of burning tyres along with wood on bonfires, which has raised concerns over the toxic and carcinogenic fumes that can be released.

"While the Grand Lodge or the Orange Institution does not organise bonfires, we are conscious that there are genuine health and environmental concerns about the burning of tyres on bonfires, and we would encourage those involved in bonfires not to accept tyres," the statement continued.

"We receive many contacts at this time of year from people who believe we are responsible for the bonfires, and on their behalf we encourage the many bonfire builders to take on board concerns over tyres. We commend those who are acting responsibly within their communities to make the Eleventh night an enjoyable one within the community."

Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson said: "I am very pleased to see the Orange Order encouraging bonfire organisers not to accept tyres. It is a health and safety problem that must be urgently addressed.

"Toxic fumes could be released if tyres are burnt on bonfires. This could pose a serious health risk to those watching the bonfire and people in the surrounding area, including young people.

"Organisers must ensure that bonfires are built in a safe and respectful manner. I hope that the Orange Order will also encourage the removal of tyres that are already on bonfires."

(IT/CD)

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