Concern has been raised over the use of tyres on local Twelfth bonfires.
In a statement, Sinn Féin Councillor Philip McGuigan expressed worry over the Finvoy and Lislagan fires saying they were ‘dangerous’ and ‘sectarian’ adding ‘the amount of toxic fumes that will be released by illegally burning hundreds of tyres is sickening’.
He explained: “Bonfires at Finvoy and Lislagan have nothing to do with culture and all to do with anti- social behaviour. It is the same every year and it is getting very tiresome that this kind of anti-social, sectarian behaviour is allowed to continue.
“I know that numerous complaints have been made to the Council, the NIEA, and the PSNI and anyone with an ounce of sense is looking on wondering how these bonfires are allowed to go ahead. I would encourage people to continue to register their disgust at what is happening and the fact that it will be their money from the public purse that will be used to clean up the mess after these fires are burnt. These two bonfires are dangerous, they are sectarian, and the amount of toxic fumes that will be released by illegally burning hundreds of tyres is sickening. Unionists need to stop cowering behind the cover of culture. Bonfires like those in Lislagan and Finvoy have absolutely nothing to do with culture and absolutely everything to do with loutish and anti - social behaviour. Society needs to stop pandering to those responsible for building and burning these fires every year.”
It is also believed that a sign in Dervock is asking for people to ‘dump tyres this way’.
A spokesperson from Ballymoney Borough Council explained that it burning tyres was against Environmental legislation and highlighted the ‘Bonfire Incentive Scheme’. They continued: “Officers visit the bonfires regularly and try to encourage the use of the correct materials however more often than not without success. Council has also participated in an initiative with NIEA visiting tyre businesses reminding them of their responsibility to dispose of tyres correctly. The Police & Community Safety Partnership have sponsored a course delivered by Cheers Youth Group in which a number of bonfire builders attended educating them in event safety what materials that ought not to be used on fire sites. Council, and other statutory agencies involved in the Bonfire Sub Group, continually try to educate and persuade those responsible but unfortunately this does not always work.”