Cork City Council encourages public to support ‘Nonfire Night’ initiative

Cork City Council encourages public to support ‘Nonfire Night’ initiative

Cork City Council has encouraged the public to row in behind celebrating Bonfire Night in an alternative way with its 'Nonfire Night' initiative. Picture: Larry Cummins

Cork City Council has encouraged the public to row in behind celebrating Bonfire Night in an alternative way tonight with its 'Nonfire Night' initiative. 

In light of current Covid-19 restrictions, the Council's Bonfire Night celebrations have been re-imagined.

"Cork City Council has long recognised the significance of Bonfire Night, or St John’s Night, to communities across our city as an important celebration tied to midsummer, Solstice and other ancient traditions. 

"It has long been an occasion for communities to gather and mark the beginning of summertime.

"Council organised Summer Fun Evenings, which ordinarily include activities for all the family, and art installations created by local young people, have brought enjoyment to communities across the city over the last decade and more.

"Unfortunately, due to current public health guidelines, Cork City Council is unable to run these events in 2021.

"Instead, the Council is working closely with youth workers and Cork Education and Training Board to supply refreshments so that small gatherings of young people can still celebrate ‘Nonfire Night’," a spokesperson for the Council said.

As an alternative celebration, Stevie G and Cork producer Garry McCarthy (GMC Beats) will host an event in The Kabin, Knocknaheeny which will be live-streamed across the city. 

The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher will be visiting a number of these groups, in the Glen, Farranree and Knocknaheeny to meet young people and learn more about their youth projects.

"The Council is also mindful of the need to remove the risk of illegal bonfires as much as is possible. 

"With this in mind, bulky waste collections have been undertaken across Cork City over the last week. 

"The safety of communities and our emergency services workers is the absolute priority this Bonfire Night. 

"Council and communities will be hoping for a return to the very popular Summer Fun Evenings in 2022," the Council spokesperson continued. 

Third Officer at Cork City Fire Brigade Breandán O'Donoghue also appealed to the public to act responsibly this Bonfire Night.

"Bonfires are not good for the environment so we wouldn’t be encouraging people to light them at all.

"They are dangerous and if not properly supervised, injuries can result," he said.

He said that Bonfire Night can be a challenging night for the fire service.

"Where there are fewer and fewer bonfires our services are more and more available to the more critical issues that we attend such as road accidents and actual house fires," he added.

Mr O'Donoghue said fortunately the fire service has seen a decline in the number of bonfires over the years, due to city council initiatives and the public's increasing awareness around the need to protect the environment.

"The general public's awareness of our environmental responsibility is amazing – they have changed their practises because they have identified that all the smoke is toxic, it’s toxic to the environment and the cumulative effect is unsustainable. They’ve been great and hopefully, we can keep reducing the number of bonfires."

Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould highlighted the impact bonfires have on green areas. 

"Bonfires can cause extreme damage to green areas which end up with dumping. 

"The waste materials can damage the local communities. This has a negative impact on communities and the climate," he said.

"It’s a pity this year that the wonderful events usually held by Cork City Council can’t go ahead due to Covid restrictions.

"These events have been relatively successful, as they have involved local community groups, the Council, youth groups and the Gardaí, which have put together a diverse range of fun activities on the night.

"We need to hold firm and thanks to all of our efforts, there will be better days ahead and we can enjoy these events in future Bonfire Nights."

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