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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Mattresses are 'a safety precaution' say Craigyhill bonfire builders

Craigyhill Bonfire in 2023.

Craigyhill Bonfire rising in 2023. (Images: Bill Guiller)

Mattresses brought to a bonfire site at Larne’s Craigyhill estate are to be used for safety purposes, it has been claimed.

Commenting on the ‘Craigyhill Bonfire and Cultural’ page online, it has been stated that they are to be “a safety precaution” and will be placed “round the bottom in rows in case someone falls”.

Bonfire management has been highlighted in Mid and East Antrim following the death of Larne man John Steele, a father-of-two, who was in his thirties, after a fall from the Antiville bonfire which he had been helping to build in the town in July 2022.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council deferred making a decision on bonfire management for more than a year after being first told to agree a way forward.

The issue of bonfire management was first placed on the council’s agenda in January 2023. It is understood that legal recommendations have been provided to councillors.

Young people enjoying ‘a bounce’ a Craigyhill Bonfire.

Young people enjoying ‘a bounce’ at Craigyhill Bonfire.

Councillors agreed last month that council officers will liaise with community representatives to develop a “community engagement protocol” for bonfire management in the borough which will be brought back to members for approval.

The council has acknowledged that locally, bonfires are “an important part of identity, tradition and cultural expression”.

The local authority agreed to commission a two-month consultation “to examine best practice in managing cultural and bonfire celebrations” and will engage with local communities, groups and organisers involved in such events.

Craigyhill Bonfire Committee declined to provide a comment to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has also been asked for a comment on the mattresses at the Shanlea Drive location in Craigyhill.

Separately, at a meeting of the borough council’s Environment and Economy Committee last month, councillors agreed to tender for the collection and reprocessing of mattresses from the local authority’s household recycling centres.

During the discussion, which took place behind closed doors. operations director Philip Thompson answered queries in relation to options for recycling of mattresses and issues involved.


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