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It is that time of year again when wooden pallets and other material appears in estates around the city ahead of the ‘traditional’ bonfires.

Thankfully in recent years the vast majority of people in this city have realised that not all traditions are worth preserving - particularly destructive ones like bonfires - and as a result, it has almost died out.

It has not been eradicated fully however, and the scourge of bonfires still creates problems for local residents. The disgraceful scenes witnessed in Galliagh last weekend when attempts were made to remove material which had been gathered for a bonfire at Moss Park proves that this is still a volatile issue.

Let’s be clear about this; the disturbances seen in the area had nothing to do with a bonfire - it was simple thuggery.

To complicate matters further, those who attempt to justify bonfires cannot agree on what the ‘tradition’ actually is. Some claim it is to mark the Feast of the Assumption, while others claim that it is to remember the introduction of internment.

Both of these arguments are flawed. Lighting a huge fire which becomes a magnet for anti-social behaviour, drunkenness and loutish behaviour hardly seems in keeping with a religious feast and celebrating a British policy of locking up Irish people seems equally bizarre.

Clinging on to the out-dated ‘tradition’ of bonfires is nothing more than aping the worst excesses of loyalism. We have learned over and over again in this country that many things that were once commonplace in the past have no place in the future.