The meeting of the Mid Ulster District Council Environment Committee met during the week to discuss bonfires.
The meeting was attended by all parties, and was focussed on bonfires that take place on Mid Ulster Council property.
Chair of the committee, Sinn Féin’s Ronan McGinley, said after the meeting;
“I believe the meeting went well. There is always the potential for disagreement on issues like this, but I am glad councillors approached it in a mature and respectful manner. We have a unanimous agreement on how to move positively forward, and I look forward to the outcomes produced by the Bonfire Working Group over the next few months”.
Cllr McGinley cont;
“This was never an attack on culture. The council has a responsibility when events take place on its property to ensure a safe place for all, accountability and respect. Burning illegal materials, lack of insurance, hate crimes etc are examples where this council needs to step up and ensure risk is reduced. The approach agreed by all parties on Thursday night will lay the foundations for accountable, safe and respectful use of council property”.
The Mid Ulster District Council is set to hold a special meeting of the Environment Committee to discuss ‘Rogue Bonfires’ across the district.
Concerns have been raised by Sinn Féin Councillor Brian McGuigan who said;
“We have been liaising with all public bodies through a cross Party bonfire working group. Despite our best efforts to mitigate the problems associated with a number of them, illegal practices continue and are having serious detrimental impacts to the quality of life of many residents within our district. As Sinn Féin Councillors, we feel this is unacceptable”.
Cllr McGuigan continued;
“I have requested a special meeting of the Council’s Environment Committee to ensure everything is being done to reduce risk to rate payers as a result of illegal activity”.
Chair of the Mid Ulster Environment Committee, Cllr Ronan McGinley said;
“After receiving corresponded from Cllr McGuigan, I feel it’s appropriate to hold a meeting to discuss a number of issues he has raised. We need to explore a number of areas, including the need to investigate the financial costs incurred, clarification of risk assessments and public liability, and also to ensure that, as a council, we are reducing risk in line with our responsibilities”.
The special meeting of the Environment Committee is due to take place in Cookstown Council offices on 17th August.