02/10/2018

Cost Of East Belfast Bonfire Removals Revealed

The cost of removing two contested bonfires in east Belfast has been revealed as almost £190,000.

A "significant policing operation" was needed on 11 July as armed police in riot gear protected contractors as they dismantled and removed bonfires from Bloomfield Walkway and Cluan Place.

A Freedom of Information Request from BBC News NI revealed that around 700 officers were involved in the two operations at a total cost of £188,718.

According to BBC News NI, the operation at Bloomfield Walkway costs £121,457, while the operation at Cluan Place cost £67,261.

£115,000 of the overall cost was overtime pay for police officers.
News Image
Emergency legal proceedings were launched by Belfast City Council on 10 July amid concerns over the size of the bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway. A High Court Judge subsequently directed the Department for Infrastructure to take immediate action.

The fire was lit as private contractors, who wore masks to protect their identity, moved in to remove the materials.

The bonfire at Cluan Place was also dismantled after the Fire Service of Northern Ireland raised concerns over its proximity to buildings.

Previously, Belfast City Council and the Department for Infrastructure had refused to reveal the cost of the removal operations citing ""commercial sensitivity".

(MH)



Image: Cllr John Kyle

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