Bogside bonfire location could force residents to leave homes

Youths from the area pictured at Meenan Square  yesterday afternoon making ready for the upcoming 15th August bonfire. DER3215MC007
Youths from the area pictured at Meenan Square yesterday afternoon making ready for the upcoming 15th August bonfire. DER3215MC007
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People living in the Bogside are worried the location of this year’s August bonfire could force them out of their homes.

The ‘Journal’ understands three possible locations for the bonfire, which is set to be lit on Saturday night, could be at the top of the grass verge overlooking the Bogside, under the Lecky Road flyover or at the rear of shops in Meenan Square.

The daughter of an elderly couple who live near Meenan Square contacted the ‘Journal’ to convey her anger and frustration.

“I don’t live in the Bogside anymore but my poor parents do and they shouldn’t have to put up with this on their doorstep.

“It’s bad enough that they have had to live with the eyesore that is the wooden pallets and tyres in Meenan Square but to think they might have to leave their home on Saturday night because of a stupid bonfire is a step too far.”

The woman, who did not want to be named, said her parents had lived through the worst of the Troubles in the area and she called on all local politicians and community leaders to do all they can to reach some of sort of resolution.

“At the best of times, daddy sometimes needs to use an oxygen machine to help him breath. If there are fumes from tyres and God knows what else seeping into the house I dread to think how it could impact upon his health.

“I am not talking about fit and healthy young people. I am talking about an older couple who worked to make Derry what it is today - they shouldn’t have to put up with this.

“I would appeal to all politicians of all political persuasions to come together and do what you can to address this problem.”

In recent weeks the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) met with the community in the Bogside to talk about the importance of safety when dealing with bonfires.

“NIFRS does not have any enforcement power in relation to the size or location of bonfires,” a NIFRS told the ‘Journal’.

“NIFRS provides advice on bonfire safety using the ‘Bonfire Code’.

“NIFRS continue to work closely with local communities and with the other statutory agencies to ensure people stay safe when building and attending bonfires.

“NIFRS priority is to protect life and secondly property, and if NIFRS is called out a bonfire related incident it is because someone from the local community is concerned and has called NIFRS for assistance,” the spokesperson added.