Bonfires still a burning issue

TREVOR MCBRIDE PICTURE� Bonfire alight at Moss Park at Galliagh in Derry
TREVOR MCBRIDE PICTURE� Bonfire alight at Moss Park at Galliagh in Derry
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A number of bonfires were lit in estates across Derry on Wednesday night despite efforts to end the tradition.

Bonfires were held in Galliagh, Creggan, William Street, and the Top of the Hill areas, with a number of smaller fires in other areas of the city. The one at the Top of the Hill was the largest.

The re-built bonfire at Moss Park on Wednesday morning. 1708JM33

The re-built bonfire at Moss Park on Wednesday morning. 1708JM33

The bonfires were not as large as those seen in previous years and less trouble was reported at the bonfires that did take place.

It is believed that a combination of poor weather and diversionary activities organised by community groups in a number of areas of the city resulted in a reduction in the number of people attending bonfires.

Fears had been expressed in the Galliagh area of the city that the bonfire may bring a repeat of the disturbances witnessed in the Moss Park area last month and of the violence and drunkenness which accompanied last year’s bonfire.

Local community groups organised a major sporting event in the Galliagh and Shantallow areas, the Outer North Olympics, in order to provide an alternative to bonfires and large numbers of young people took part in these events.

Local community worker Peter McDonald said while the majority of residents do not want bonfires, a number of young people were responsible for building this year’s fire

“There is a small number of youths hellbent on building bonfires. At no time were we under the illusion that there wasn’t going to be a bonfire. In this area we are trying to find an alternative,” he said.

There was no bonfire in the Lecky Road area for the second year running.

A large open air concert, the culmination of this year’s Gasyard Féile was held close to where bonfires have been built in the past and attracted large numbers of local residents.

In previous years the Lecky Road bonfire caused considerable damage to the roadway, the Flyover, and overhead electricity cables, as well as creating a nuisance for people living nearby, many of who opposed the bonfire.