The Ulster Unionist Party’s North Belfast representative, Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston, has said that the removal of the Adam Street bonfire in North Belfast is not justified and has the potential to set back local community relations.
Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston said:
“The bonfire at Adam Street has been the focus of a great deal of attention and commentary, much of it ill-informed.
“I have visited the site and witnessed at first hand that it is not at an interface, does not encroach on the nationalist community and is not visible to the nationalist community, unless they are in the high rise New Lodge flats, from which just about all of Belfast is visible.
“The reality is that this bonfire is not excessive in size, is smaller than in previous years, has no tyres on it, is located within a unionist community and is 60 feet away from the peace line which runs the length of Duncairn Gardens.
“The removal of the Adam Street bonfire is not justified and would cause more harm than good. Some political parties need to - to use a now common phrase – ‘dial down their rhetoric’ – and stop flexing their muscles because they are only hyping up tensions.
“There has been a tremendous amount of good work done in that part of North Belfast to promote good community relations and ease tensions and I fully support these efforts to promote tolerance, mutual respect and cultural diversity.
“That is a two way street, and I genuinely believe that any move to remove this particular bonfire would have the potential to set relations back further.”