08/08/2003

Mayor of Derry calls for end to bonfires

Mayor of Derry, Shaun Gallagher has appealed for local businesses not to provide materials for various bonfires being organised over the coming month.

Bonfires are being organised by the Apprentice Boys' of Derry and during internment commemoration event's by republicans in the city.

Describing the bonfires as both dangerous and costly, Councillor Gallagher claimed that they were of detriment to tourism in the area.

He said: “There are many community leaders trying to bring an end to this damaging practice of holding bonfires during August and businesses in the city can support these efforts by not providing waste materials for use.

"Community groups work tirelessly every year to try and discourage bonfires and have worked constructively to identify other ways to mark occasions at this sensitive time of the year.”

Councillor Gallagher also said that in addition to the danger presented by bonfires there was significant environmental damage, especially from toxic fumes generated by burning tyres. The clean-up cost is also substantial and he put this at around £4,000 a year.

“Business owners have an influential role and can help reduce the impact of bonfires by securing or storing their waste and not provide materials for use. I would appeal to garage owners in particular and any other bodies who may have given away old tyres for bonfires to please stop now," he said.

"There is no single solution to removing bonfires entirely from the city but with community efforts, business support and providing alternative ways of marking these occasions I feel the city can move towards a time when bonfires are a symbol of the past."

(MB)

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