Northern Ireland

Storage of Belfast bonfire pallets to be probed by council

Chobham Street bonfire Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Pallets used in last year's bonfire at Chobham Street

A Belfast City Council committee has agreed the storage of up to 3,000 bonfire pallets by the council should be investigated.

The police are investigating the alleged theft of the pallets from council land in east Belfast.

Belfast City Council has confirmed the pallets being stored were related to bonfire sites on Chobham Street (walkway) and Hope Street (Sandy Row).

The proposal was backed by the council's strategic policy committee.

It was brought forward by Alliance's Michael Long and will now go to full council for approval.

Sinn Féin described the discussion of the matter in private session on Friday as "lengthy and very heated".

Councillor Jim McVeigh told BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra his party was unhappy that a decision was "taken secretly without our knowledge to store the pallets".

The DUP's Lee Reynolds said the storage of the pallets was the "best solution" for the Chobham Street walkway.

Belfast City Council said it would not comment on the police investigation following the alleged theft.

It said it continued to "work with communities and a range of statutory agencies in its efforts to minimize any negative impact of bonfires on local residents" and that its "focus is on helping to calm community tensions at this time".

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