Councillors’ concern

Councillors’ concern

Cork City Council has reported a significant increase in the number of illegal fires on bonfire night.

MORE than 150 unauthorised bonfires were recorded in Cork city on bonfire night this year - including one incident which saw a car pushed onto a fire.

City officials reported that the number of illegal fires was 'significantly worse' this year in comparison to previous years, with debris clean-up still ongoing more than two weeks after the event.

St John's Eve, which fell on June 23, was marked by a number of council-run family fun events.

Some 13,000 people attended the events this year. It was the tenth year the local authority ran such events, which are credited with leading to a reduction in the number of illegal bonfires in the city.

€40,000 is spent on running the events each year, though city officials conceded that the 'hidden costs' associated with the night have yet to be finalised.

This includes fire service call-out costs, with the service particularly busy after 10pm this year.

Clean-up costs have also yet to be calculated, with contractors still working on a number of sites in the city.

David Joyce, the city's head of environment, said that ten to fifteen sites are being cleaned each day, with the full job expected to be completed by next week.

A number of elected members raised concerns that the night is getting out of hand.

Independent councillor Mick Finn reported that one illegal fire on the southside of the city saw a car pushed onto the fire.

Former Lord Mayor, Cllr Chris O'Leary, urged the city to phase out the bonfires entirely and just focus on the family fun elements of the night,

"There are considerable hidden charges associated with this night that is paid for by the city and it isn't right," he said.

Others, including deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Fergal Dennehy, said that this would likely lead to an increase in the number of illegal fires once again.

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, called for an increase in education ahead of next year's events in a bid to 'clamp down' on illegal fires.

"There are a number of hot spots that see a flare up after 10pm, in particular," he said.

City officials welcomed support for the public events and said that additional locations will be explored for 2018 if the budget is provided.

More in this section

Sponsored Content